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March 16, 2020 2:35 PM


5th Renewal of Declaration of State of Local Disaster Emergency
WHEREAS, on the 16th day of March 2020, the City Administrator of the City of Siloam Springs, Arkansas, found that certain conditions had caused, or imminently threatened to cause, widespread or severe damage, injury, or loss of life or property in disastrous proportion in Siloam Springs, Arkansas; and
WHEREAS, such conditions created a state of affairs which endangered the public health, safety, and welfare of persons and property within the borders of Siloam Springs, Arkansas; and
WHEREAS, under and by virtue of the authority vested in him by A.C.A. § 12-75-108 (2018); Local disaster emergencies - Declaration, the City Administrator did thereby declare that a state of local disaster emergency existed; and
WHEREAS, on the 20th day of July 2020, the City Administrator renewed said declaration for an additional sixty days in conformity with the extension of the Governor's state-wide declaration of emergency and ongoing presence of the certain conditions underlying the original declaration; and
WHEREAS, on the 11th day of September 2020 the City Administration renewed said declaration for an additional sixty days in conformity with the extension of the Governor's state­wide declaration of emergency and ongoing presence of the certain conditions underlying the original declaration; and
WHEREAS, on the 10th day of November 2020 the City Administration renewed said declaration for an additional sixty days in conformity with the extension of the Governor's state­wide declaration of emergency and ongoing presence of the certain conditions underlying the original declaration; and
WHEREAS, on the 8th day of January 2021, the City Administration renewed said declaration for an additional sixty days in conformity with the extension of the Governor's state­wide declaration of emergency and ongoing presence of the certain conditions underlying the original declaration; and
WHEREAS, on the 10th day of March 2021, the City Administrator of the City of Siloam Springs, Arkansas finds that the aforesaid conditions have not abated and continue to pose a severe and immediate threat to life and health.
WHEREAS, on the 7th day of April 2021, the City Administrator of the City of Siloam Springs, Arkansas finds that the aforesaid conditions have not abated and continue to pose a severe and immediate threat to life and health.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT DECLARED by the City Administrator of Siloam Springs, Arkansas:
That the City Administrator, under and by virtue of the authority vested in him by A.C.A. § 12-75-108 (2018); Local disaster emergencies - Declaration, does hereby declare that a state of local disaster emergency is hereby renewed for an additional sixty (60) days.
That the area within the borders of Siloam Springs, Arkansas, covered by this renewal of declaration of a local disaster emergency shall be the following area of Siloam Springs, Arkansas: CITYWIDE
That this renewal of declaration of a local disaster emergency shall be given prompt and general publicity and shall be filed promptly with the City Clerk.
That this renewal of declaration of a local disaster emergency authorizes the continued activation of the response and recovery aspects of all local disaster emergency plans which are applicable to Siloam Springs, Arkansas, and the rendering of aid and assistance thereunder.
That any rights or powers lawfully exercised, or any actions taken pursuant to local disaster emergency plans, shall continue and have full force and effect as authorized by law unless modified or terminated in the manner prescribed by law.
-Phillip Patterson

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Latest Update:

May 4, 2021 2:50 PM

Governor Hutchinson 5/4/2021 COVID Press Conference
> This is the last weekly COVID update. There will still be a weekly new update from the office, but it won’t be all COVID based.
> Case report: 336,462 total cases, an increase of 296 from yesterday.
> Total active cases: 2,043, an increase of 104 since yesterday.
> 5,752 total deaths due to COVID, an increase of 5 since yesterday.
> 192 currently hospitalized, up 20 from yesterday.
> Top counties: Benton 43, Washington 42, Pulaski 27
> Testing remains low- 6,022 PCR tests (this month to date), only 1,840 PCR tests yesterday; 1,937 antigen tests to date this month, only 1,079 yesterday.
> Nearly 11,000 vaccinations were given out yesterday.
> Total vaccination doses received= 2,525,070 and have given 1,751,620 vaccinations to date. That is 69.4% of doses given.
> Individuals partially immunized= 270,426
> Individuals full immunized= 768,130
> The Governor is challenging Arkansas residents to reach a vaccination goal of 50% of Arkansans with at least one shot in the next 90 days. Currently 1,038,556 or 34% have received at least one shot. 467,206 more Arkansans will need to receive a shot to reach this goal.
> Benton County needs 19.5% of residents to receive at least one dose of the COVID vaccine to get to that 50% vaccination level.
> Pop up vaccination clinics will be occurring throughout the state. ADH will now be taking the vaccine to the local events where anyone who wants to get a shot. No appointment needed; no specific time needed. ADH is bringing vaccines to local events.
> The current state of emergency will end May 30, 2021.
> Variants have been detected in more than double the number of counties since 4/3/21.
> If you are traveling to/from India, please quarantine 14 days upon return to Arkansas.
>Children really have no protection against the virus unless those around them are vaccinated. Please consider how this will protect your children when getting the vaccine.

Prior Updates

April 27, 2021 2:48 PM

Governor Hutchinson 4/27/21 COVID Press Conference
> Total cases= 334,998, with an increase of 229 since yesterday.
> Total active cases= 1,844, with an increase of 39 since yesterday.
> Total deaths= 5,725, up 5 since yesterday.
> 157 hospitalized, down 13 since yesterday.
> 15,800 have been hospitalized throughout the pandemic in Arkansas.
> Top counties for new cases: Benton 41, Pulaski 30, Washington 29
> Vaccinations- Doses received= 2,494,780; doses given= 1,661,921, which is 66.6% doses given.
> 301,388 individuals have been partially immunized.
> 707,072 individuals have been fully immunized.
> Total immunized in Arkansas (partially or fully) 1,00,800. This number needs to go up.
> Vaccines are available in Arkansas. Supply is not a problem- if you want a vaccine, you can get it.
> From the Governor, “We obviously have a vaccine hesitancy in Arkansas. The threat is being perceived is down, so the urgency of getting a vaccine is diminished.”
> We are working to encourage people to get that vaccine, but also call upon the employers to provide information, time off, and even bring a clinic to the site. We need employer leadership through this vaccination process.
>Variants are becoming more prevalent. Isolates are becoming in the variants. There will be more- and many are associated with higher transmission rates and more severe disease.

April 20, 2021 2:20 PM

Governor Hutchinson 4/20/21 COVID Press Conference
> Total cases= 333,709 with an increase of 198 since yesterday.
> Total active cases= 1,804, with an increase of 15 since yesterday.
> Total deaths= 5,706, up 7 from yesterday.
> Hospitalizations= 77, up by 13 since yesterday.
> Top counties for new cases: Benton 29, Pulaski 26, Washington 22
> We continue to receive our federal allocation of the vaccine with a total of 2,291,620 an increase of 29,490 in the last 24 hours.
> Given out 19,583 vaccinations in the last 24 hours
> 637,872 individuals are already fully immunized.
> There’s an ample supply of vaccines- we need to increase demand.
> Governor’s goal is to have 1 Million vaccinated. We are still shy of that goal by approximately 27,000.
> 14.2% of Arkansans are partially vaccinated. 27.5% are fully vaccinated. We are below the national average of the vaccination rate.
> Vaccinations broken down by age: 52.5% of those over 65 have been fully vaccinated, 20.1% of individuals aged 18-64 have been fully vaccinated, 1.8% of individuals under age 18 have been fully vaccinated.
> We need to work on the 18-64 age group to increase vaccinations.
> Vaccinations broken down by race: 55.8% of Hispanic individuals have been fully vaccinated and 22.2% have been partially vaccinated; 49.1% of white individuals have been fully vaccinated and 13% have been partially vaccinated; 45.1% of black individuals have been fully vaccinated and 15.4% have been partially vaccinated.
> Children are still susceptible to the virus. The new strain cases are increasing in children and the virus tends to be more severe than the original strain.
>All local offices of the Department of Health will have the vaccine next week. Call the vaccine hotline to schedule an appointment. There is a location with vaccines in each county in Arkansas.

April 13, 2021 2:51 PM

Governor Hutchinson 4/13/21 COVID Press Conference
> Total cases: 332,446
> 224 new cases since yesterday
> 5,673 deaths, up 8 from yesterday
> Down 8 hospitalizations to 148
> Testing- 2,813 since yesterday
> Top counties: Washington 55, Benton 34, Pulaski 36
> 70% of doses available have been given out.
> Johnson & Johnson vaccine- we respect the CDC decision to pause, will follow this in Arkansas.
> Vaccination program will not be interrupted because of the J&J vaccine.
> Governor Hutchinson said, “it is critically important” to get the vaccine. “No one should delay getting a vaccination because of the pause on one part” (of the J&J). “We have confidence in the J&J vaccine, but it is on pause for the treatment of adverse reactions.”
> Anyone 16 and older can get the vaccine at this time. Call 1-800-985-6030 or check to find one near you. Or register for a vaccine in Washington or Benton County at
>If you haven’t gotten the second dose it’s not too late.

April 6, 2021 2:24 PM

Governor Hutchinson 4/6/2021 COVID Press Conference
Governor expressed the importance of getting the vaccination.
> Case report: 331,261 total cases, 163 in the last 24 hours
> 1,602 active cases
> 5,653 total deaths, 5 in the last 24 hours
> 152 hospitalized
> Vaccinations: 1,881,900 doses received with 58,020 coming in in the last 24 hours
> Doses given: 1,276,675. We vaccinated 25,074 yesterday.
> 357,280 individuals partially immunized, 477,857 fully immunized
> Top counties for cases: Washington 33, Pulaski 23, Benton 17
> Testing totals for the month: 16,400 PCR tests, 4,827 antigen tests
> Testing yesterday: 1,844 PCR, 1,275 antigen tests
> Vaccine distribution by race: 77.5% white Arkansans (represents 81.4% of the Arkansas population), 8% unknown, 10.3% black Arkansans (represents 15.3% of the Arkansas population), 2.8% other (represents 1.2% of the Arkansas population), 1.1% Asian Arkansans (represents 1.7% of the Arkansas population), .2% Pacific Islander Arkansans (represents .4% of the Arkansas population). The governor said we are working to bring the vaccine to minority communities.
> 64.5% of the 65+ age group has been vaccinated.
> VACCINE CALL LINE: 1-800-985-6030 for vaccine locations/resources
>BE SURE to get your second dose. If you have missed your window that’s OK. Call the vaccine hotline.

March 30, 2021 2:16 PM

Governor Hutchinson 3/30/21 COVID Press Conference
> Governor Hutchinson was on a call with WH COVID task force this morning.
> States will be receiving 5.4 million more doses of the vaccine. Supply chain continues to increase. That means Arkansas will receive an additional 25k this week.
> Case report= increase of 178 new cases from yesterday, down 56 active cases, up 15 deaths, with 170 hospitalized
> 330,186 Arkansans have had COVID, with 5,616 deaths.
> Testing= 2,068 PCR test results yesterday, 1,754 antigen tests yesterday.
> The Statewide mask mandate has been lifted effective today. This does not mean that the use of a mask will cease. We should continue to wear masks when we cannot socially distance.
> Please respect the decisions of others to require masks including: restaurants, hotels, government buildings, salons and barbershops, stores, event venues, schools that opt to continue the mask policy, department of corrections, hospitals and health care providers.
> Arkansans 16+ are now eligible for the COVID Vaccine line.
> Call the vaccine call line: 1-800-985-6030
> We want as many Arkansans as possible to get the vaccine as it’s the way out of the pandemic.
> Total doses in Arkansas= 1,662,850 doses distributed with 1,153,739 doses administered. That’s 69.4% doses given.
> 409,828 individuals have received both doses, with 769,106 having received their first dose.
> 80% of students are receiving online instruction in Arkansas.
> With the end of the mask mandate- allowing local districts to make the decision to continue the mask mandate or not.
> Quarantine requirements (for close contact) will change on the school district’s new mask policy.
> You need the second dose to be fully immunized.
>The removal of the mask mandate does not mean we do not need masks. Continue to follow the CDC guidelines.

March 23, 2021 2:38 PM

Governor Hutchinson 3/23/21 COVID Press Conference
>Governor Hutchinson began press conference by signing 2 bills: House bill 1343= law enforcement support bill for Arkansas State Police and Senate Bill 107 creating the computer science advancement act (requiring high school students to take a computer science course).
> CDC has distributed 1,466,950 total vaccines to Arkansas with 1,008,575 vaccines administered, which is 68.75% of the total doses given. (includes VA, prisons, additional federal vaccine programs)
> (not including the federal vaccine programs, minus the CVS/Walgreens long-term care program) 316,426 individuals partially immunized and 340,719 individuals fully immunized.
> The goal is to have 1.1 M vaccinated by the end of the month.
> Total cases 328,946 with 2,263 active cases.
> There have been 5,547 Arkansans who have died from COVID-19.
> March testing= 118,786 PCR tests, 46,149 Antigen tests
> Yesterday 3,315 PCR test results were received, and 1,150 antigen tests were received.
> New cases- Benton 36, Pulaski 28, Marion 16, Washington 16, Baxter 13, Saline 11, White 11
> The Governor is asking everyone to get vaccinated. When it’s your turn to get a vaccine, please do so. Everyone getting vaccinated will help us get out of this pandemic.
> The State will receive more vaccines next week.
> If you have been on Spring Break and not social distanced, please get a test when you come back. There are growing concerns about virus resurgence from spring break.
> The biggest concern is vaccine reluctance and COVID complacency. People are letting their guard down with the lowering of numbers; please continue to be vigilant and wear your masks, wash your hands, and watch your distance.
> We cannot fully and safely reopen the State until there are enough individuals who have been vaccinated. We need to be at 70% and above vaccinated.
> ALL eligible veterans (aged 18+ enrolled in VA health care) can now get the vaccine. There is no VA age limit effective immediately.
> The vaccines are safe, only have minor side effects, and will NOT alter your DNA or lead to infertility.
> There has not been a school district in the state that has shifted to distance learning due to COVID since the first week of February.

March 16, 2021 2:21 PM

Governor Hutchinson 3/16/21 COVID Press Conference
>Vaccine distribution: we have received 1,499,580 doses and given 863,880.
> There are 265,115 people partially immunized and 303,823 individuals fully vaccinated.
> 55% of Arkansans aged 65+ have received at least one dose. 27.2% have been fully vaccinated.
> Effective today Arkansas is opening the vaccines up to group 1C.
> 1C includes Arkansans aged 16-64 with health conditions that increase the risk for severe COVID. Essential workers in energy, finance, food service, information technology and communications, legal, media, public health/human services, public safety, shelter and house, transportation and logistics. Also includes people residing in high-risk settings- this includes those who are incarcerated or detained, those living in group homes, congregate settings, crowded housing or student housing such as dorms and Greek housing.
> Arkansas has opened their eligibility to have all eligible for the vaccine by May 1.
> There are nearly 1 Million people in the 1C category. We have not vaccinated all people in the 1B group yet, but important to go ahead and open the eligibility to 1C. Call and get on the appointment schedule.
> Vaccine call-line 1-800-985-6030
> Case update- 327,456 cases in Arkansas with 2,875 active cases.
> 257 hospitalized, up 7 from yesterday.
> 5,493 deaths, up 12 from yesterday.
> Have completed 82,419 PCR tests this month, with 2,614 tests coming in yesterday.
> 29,496 antigen tests this month, with 1,616 tests coming in yesterday.
> Total positivity rate of less than 5%
> Top new cases by county: Pulaski 54, Benton 49, Washington 35, Faulkner 22, Baxter 15
> Our peak was January 7 with 2,813 cases per day.
> You should continue to mask even if you have received the vaccine.
> The vaccine is safe and effective. It is effective against death and severe illness needing hospitalizations.
> Need 70-90% of our population immunized to have “herd immunity”.
> There has been some reluctance to get the vaccine in rural areas.

March 2, 2021 2:22 PM

Governor Hutchinson 3/2/2021 COVID Press Conference
>Total vaccines received 1,066980 vaccines with 652,702 vaccines given.
>Currently in phase 1B of vaccine administration.
>Expanding Phase 1B group- effective immediately to include food manufacturing workers. Estimated 49,000 Arkansans including meat procession and grand and oilseed milling.
>Working to increase availability of vaccines to rural areas. ADH will create a vaccine clinic in each health region. Reservations available in future weeks.
>Proportion of Arkansans residents ages 70+ 50% have gotten 1 dose, 24.7% have gotten two doses. This shows some resistance from residents in getting their vaccines.
>Total cases 322,949, an increase of 440 from yesterday.
>Active cases 4,254, an increase of 12 from yesterday
>Deaths, 5,254, and increase of 4 from yesterday.
>Testing: PCR tests this month= 3,121; antigen tests= 1,873.
>Top counties: Pulaski 50, Benton 49, Washington 32, Lonoke 29, Jefferson 17.

February 23, 2021 3:22 PM

Governor Hutchinson 2/23/21 COVID Press Conference
>Our nation has passed 500,000 deaths of COVID.
> Vaccination group 1B is expanding effective February 23. Arkansans aged 65or older. An additional 115,000 Arkansas is now eligible to be vaccinated. Vaccines are available through many community pharmacies/clinics located in every county. You must call ahead and make an appointment or share your contact information at one pharmacy or clinic convenient to you.
> State program= doses received 794,230 with 500,914 given (61.3%) Total of 855,230 doses received or allocated.
> Federal program= 61,000 doses allocated with 33,565 doses given (55.0%).
> Total 855,230 doses received with 535,479 doses given.
> Goal to get through 1B by the end of March.
> We will increase nationwide doses by 1,000,000 in addition to our current allocation. We will get another 4,000 doses next week in the national vaccination programs.
> Johnson & Johnson vaccine might be available next week.
> Case report= 834 new cases with 4,807 total active cases.
> 5,377 total Arkansan deaths with 545 Arkansans hospitalized.
> Top counties: Benton 165, Pulaski 101, Washington 59, Garland 39, Faulkner 33, Lonoke 33
> Testing 2,496 PCR tests, 2,101 antigen test results were received yesterday.
> So far this month= 145,257 PCR test and 59,594 antigen tests.
> Large reduction in active cases
> Those in long term care facilities that did not take advantage of the first round of vaccines can still get the vaccine if wanted.
> WEAR your mask, WASH your hands, and WATCH your distance. The mask is an effective way of preventing transmission.
> Ark Blue Cross and Blue Shield and partners launched Vaccinate the Natural State initiative to encourage all Arkansans to get their vaccinations as soon as it is available to them.
> A number of schools are continuing remote learning because of damage from winter weather.

February 16, 2021 2:41 PM

Governor Hutchinson 2/16/2021 COVID Press Conference
First focused on weather- it will be an issue through at least Friday
Seeing the most severe weather event in our lifetimes. It is plaguing not only Arkansas, but the whole region. As a result of this weather emergency, we have extended the National Guard deployment through Friday. 100 guardsmen are deployed across the state. 26 Hum-vees and 2 ambulance crews are also deployed.
In terms of power approximately 20,000 Arkansans are still without power in the state. Montgomery County, Garland, and Little River Counties.
Southwest Power Pool has had controlled interruptions beginning at 7:00AM. By 10:15 all the SPP customers power had been restored. The system is operating below the reserve- energy conservation is critical.
We have been impacted by regional shortage of natural gas. Some wells are inoperable because of the freezing temperatures. This is affecting both commercial/industrial/residential.
Check road conditions at You can call 501-569-2374 instead of using the app for information.
Vaccine report- we have received 658,000 doses, given 458,431 does, or 69.7% doses given. Currently in phase 1B (Arkansans aged 70+ and those in
Gave out 3422 doses even with the bad weather yesterday.
Federal program is still slow- given out 37.8% doses.
Case report: up 177 cases to 9,107 active cases and 313,525 total cases.
Completed 125,984 PCR tests and 48,868 antigen tests this month to date.
For the first time in a long time we are below 10,000 active cases
638 currently hospitalized
Large Indoor and Outdoor Event Directives:
Directive updated to require an approved plan for events with more than 100 attendees. Previously, a plan was required for events with more than 10 attendees. Outdoor venue:
Indoor event:
Events can have up to 100 attendees without submitting a plan
Small events must follow directives. A new guidance for small events has been issued to help ensure compliance.
School and community sports- directive updated to allow competitions with two or more teams. Plan must be submitted to and approved by ADH. Host venue is responsible for compliance.
White House is increasing national supply allocated to the states by 2.5 million doses. For Arkansas this will mean an additional 6,000-7,000 doses per week.
Cases are going down, but we still have the concern about the variant viruses. They are present in our county. We need to increase our physical mitigation- wear mask, wash hands, watch your distance.

February 9, 2021 2:18 PM

Governor Hutchinson 2/9/21 COVID Press Conference
> In the 1B portion of vaccination distribution.
> All long-term care facilities have had a clinic available to them.
> Over 50% of teachers and staff have access to vaccinations.
> First reponders are covered.
> 70+ population- we have a way to go. Need to make more progress here before we open to more in group 1B.
> 12.8% of population is vaccinated.
> 20% increase this week of available doses in Arkansas through Walmart pharmacies. 11,000 doses delivered to 58 Walmart stores. Will be able to start administering doses Friday.
> One million doses will go to 120 health clinics in Arkansas- through a federal program. To get vaccines out to rural and underserved areas.
> CDC will be providing guidance to repurpose second doses for those who do not show up for their second dose.
> Arkansas has received 601,875 doses and given out 392,212= 65.2% doses given at hospitals, long term care facilities and other health care providers.
> Through the federal CVS/Walgreens program Arkansas has received 49,400 does and gives 29,904 doses= 42.3%.
> Case report= Up 1,475 cases to 308,848 with 14,898 active cases.
> Down 2 in hospitalizations.
> 775 hospitalization right now.
> Up 42 deaths of Arkansans to 5,148 deaths.
> Testing= 77,575 PCR tests this month, 4,651 results came back yesterday. 29,906 antigen tests this month, 3672 results came back yesterday.
> New cases- Pulaski 224, Benton 121, Washington 85, Lonoke 80, Garland 77
> We are at 9.9% infection rate.
>Please continue to do the 3 w’s: Wash your hands, wear your mask, watch your distance.

February 2, 2021 2:58 PM

Governor Hutchinson 2/2/21 COVID Press Conference
> Monthly revenue report is up. Exceeding forecasts. Surplus over forecast is over $400 million. Shows people are returning to work and have confidence in the economy.
> Not extending the 11:00 pm curfew on bars that goes through February 3.
> Total cases in last 24 hours- 1,150
> Active cases are down 334
> Hospitalizations are down by 20
> 7,223 tests in the last 24 hours
> Up 44 deaths- 4,939 Arkansans who have died from COVID
> Have received 486,500 doses, given out 301,291 doses, about 61.9%.
> CVS/Walgreens program- allocated 49,400 doses, given 17,117, about 34.6%. This is through the federal program.
> Almost completed the long-term care facilities- second doses and follow ups are still in process.
> Arkansas will receive a 5% increase in vaccine supply. On top of the 16% increase announced last week.
> Walmart will receive 10,000 Feb 11. Will be distributed through about 60 stores.
> Trendlines are down for hospitalizations, active cases, infection rate, etc.
> Although we are making improvements against COVID, we all still need to Wash our hands, Wear a mask and Watch your distance.
> Reminder that there are variants out there- more critical than ever to be offensive against the disease. Once they are here, they will soon be the main strain.
> Encourage Arkansans to take the vaccine. It is safe. It has been studied across all groups. Prevent death 100% decrease hospitalizations significantly. Possibility of a third vaccine- a single dose vaccine through Johnson and Johnson.
> Pandemic Unemployment Assistance- call 844-908-2178 with any questions or go to . Staff is working on getting that unemployment to those who need it; must exhaust traditional unemployment before moving to pandemic unemployment assistance. Will require more information to help prevent fraud.
> Did you receive a 1099G for a fraudulent unemployment claim? If you have not already done so, email your police report to by February 12.
> We have gotten through 100 days of school in the 2020-2021 school year. Teachers and staff are working hard to have in-person school.
>74% of schools and 56% of districts have not had to implement large-scale education modifications.

Additionally, please see “Local Leaders Letter to the Public” regarding the COVID-19 vaccine.

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

We all recognize that the COVID-19 pandemic has tragically cut short the lives of many in the U.S. and around the world, has created great economic hardship, and has interrupted the “normal” life for all of us. We also know that the number of positive cases is growing exponentially, not just in our region, but here in Siloam Springs.

According to the Arkansas Center for Health Improvement website (, on November 30, Siloam Springs had 35 new cases per 10,000 residents, ranking us seventh among the ten cities of Northwest Arkansas. As of January 11, Siloam Springs had 144 new case per 10,000 residents, ranking us first out of those ten cities. This increase is putting a strain on our hospital system, as well as the hospitals throughout NWA.

We all know the standard actions we should take to minimize the spread of COVID-19, which are the Three-W's: Wash your hands; Watch your distance; and Wear a Mask. Those strategies will remain important for a while, and we encourage you to continue them.

However, we also now have a wonderful new resource to respond to the pandemic; safe and effective vaccines that are slowly becoming available in Siloam. Healthcare workers have already received them; our emergency responders are receiving them, employees of Siloam Spring Public Schools and JBU will be receiving them in the next week as will citizens over age 70 and other essential workers in the coming weeks. As city leaders, we are all committed to doing all we can to making COVID-19 vaccines available as quickly as possible in Siloam.

We realize that people have questions about the vaccines, so we wanted to provide you with what we believe is reliable information to answer those questions as you consider your options. (Center for Disease Control FAQ and UAMS vaccine video Vaccine Q & A with Dr. Bob Hopkins, UAMS

As community leaders, we are personally committed to take the vaccine when it becomes available to us. But suppressing the pandemic will require us to join together in our efforts. We strongly encourage you, our friends and neighbors, to join us in rolling up your sleeve and receiving a vaccine when it becomes available to you so that together we can end the pandemic.

Chip Pollard, John Brown University President
Todd Simmons, CEO and Vice Chairman Simmons Foods
Mark Simmons, Chairman Simmons Foods
Phillip Patterson, City Administrator
Jonathan Buisch, Pastor at First Pres.
Arthur Hulbert, Siloam Springs Chamber f Commerce
Pat Callahan, Community Christian Fellowship Pastor
Steve Abbott, First Baptist Church Siloam Springs Pastor
Clark Atkins, First Methodist Pastor
Joel Rutherford, First Christian Church of Siloam Springs Pastor
Judy Nation, Mayor of Siloam Springs
Louie Bold, Plant Manager Jet Stream
Duane Jones, Pharmacy District Manger Harps Foods
Tim McCord, Market President Generations Bank
Dave Flack, Outreach Center Church Pastor
Jody Wiggins, Siloam Springs School District Superintendent
Brad Paulk, Walmart Supercenter Siloam Springs Pharmacy Manager
Jeff Speaks, Community Physicians Group, CEO
Chris Milam, Walmart Supercenter Siloam Springs Store Manager
Daren Davidson, La-Z-Boy Midwest-Regional- General Manager
Michelle Maul-Pennick, Walmart Neighborhood Market Pharmacy Manager
Stanley McKinnon, Rector Grace Episcopal Church
Wayne Thomas, Director/Founder Kind at Heart Ministries
Father Salvador Marquez-Munoz, St. Mary’s Catholic Church
Tim Estes, New Life Church Pastor
Dr. Rex Harris, CPG
Dr. John Caswell, CPG
Dr. Ezra Cole, CPG
Dr. Angela Fangmeier, CPG
Dr. Atoosa Kourosh, CPG
Dr. Ashish Mathur, CPG
Dr. Daniel Pummill, CPG
Dr. Amy Schochler, CPG
Dr. Dan Springer, CPG
Dr. Scott Stinnett, CPG
Dr. Roger Youmans, CPG
Dr. Steven Johnson, Simmons Care Clinics
Karl Mounger, Past Justice of Peace and Past Vice Mayor Siloam Springs
Carol Smiley, Co-Owner Smiley Chiropractic Clinic
Jan Nelson, Owner Memory Finders
Peter Lane, President/CEO Walton Arts Center/ Walmart AMP
Tamary Holmes, Realtor
Grant Loyd, Owner Alternative Design
John Elrod, Former Siloam Chamber Board Chair
Graham Thomas, Managing Editor Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette weeklies
Raquel Beck, Office Manager Community Clinic
Judd Semingson, CEO, Community Clinic
Amanda Echegoyen, COO, Community Clinic
Dr. Richard Pruiksma, Community Clinic
Toni Cochran, APRN, Community Clinic
Adam Bracks, CEO Siloam Springs Regional Hospital

January 26, 2021 3:36 PM

Governor Hutchinson 1/26/21 COVID Press Conference
> Unemployment rate has dropped from 6.3 in November to 4.2% in December. In March it was 5%, then all the way up to 10.8%.
> We are making progress in vaccine distribution. According to the NY Times, Arkansas is ranked #10 in terms of people vaccinated.
> Last week when we received our supply, 92% of the vaccine supplied was into the arms of Arkansans within 48 hours. We are somewhat throttled by the supply. Working on increasing the supply.
> Up 2,485 total cases in the last 24 hours
> Received the results of 5,530 PCR tests and 4,959 antigen tests
> An increase of 40 deaths to 4,690 Arkansans who have died from COVID-19
> Top counties: Pulaski 383, Benton 224, Washington 199, Sebastian 193, Garland 127
> Up 11 to 1,095 hospitalized
> Received 459,575 doses to date, given 235,120 doses to date
> Currently in phase 1-B for Arkansans aged 70 or older, education workers including K-12, childcare, higher education
> We are quite a bit lower with the federal program through CVS/Walgreens.
> Vaccines are 94% or 95% effective against COVID. Those small percent who did contract COVID with the vaccine did not have severe disease.
> No steps were skipped with the development and safety testing of the vaccine.
>Even if you are vaccinated, continue to wear your mask and social distance.

January 19, 2021 3:43 PM

Governor Hutchinson 1/19/2021 COVID Press Conference
> New cases 1,331 (while high number, it is significantly lower than a week ago)
> Active cases have gone down 1,854
> Up 43 deaths to 4,386
> 841 confirmed cases, 490 probably cases in the last 24 hours
> Top counties: Pulaski 268, Benton 132, Washington 118, Faulkner 85, Sebastian 70
> Up 2 hospitalizations to 1,265
> Significant decline in new cases in the last week.
> Received an additional 18,600 doses for a total of 374,300 doses. We’ve given out 154,235 doses to date. Currently in the 1-B phase.
> How do I know where to go to get a vaccination? If you’re in the priority group for 70+ go to the ADH website and click on the COVID 19 vaccination page.
> Concerns about more/new strains- this is normal with a new disease; however, it means we cannot let up in trying to slow the spread. This new virus variants that spread more easily could lead to a rapid rise in COVID cases. The most concerning one comes from England and has been reported in states across the country.
> Wear the mask, wash your hands, watch your distance
> Statewide Community Resources Portal- can be used by schools, community organizations, and all Arkansans. It will include resources for needs like food insecurity, clothing closets, mental health support and more. This list will continue to grow.
>COVID emergency leave (for teachers and school staff) was fully expended CARES act funds. New federal funds can be used to help offset costs to meet outstanding claims for emergency leave. Encourage districts to use funds to continue emergency leave support.

January 12, 2021 3:17 PM

Governor Hutchinson 1/12/21 COVID Press Conference
>The State has received 227,500 doses of the vaccine and has given out 89,449 (39% of doses). Currently in the 1-A phase, health care workers, long term care residents/staff, and first responders.
> 24,700 doses designated for long term care facilities. Have given out 15.7% of those vaccines.
> Moving to a few 1-B subcategories on January 18. (70 and over, k-12 staff/employees, and higher education staff/teachers). These will be through community pharmacies. County by county approach. May be clinics, events for vaccinations.
> School districts will drive the teacher vaccinations.
> There are over 462,000 Arkansans aged 65 and older.
> 3,209 new cases in the last 24 hours
> An increase of 168 deaths to 4,121
> 25,702 total active cases
> Results of 6358 PCR tests, 4334 antigen tests in the last 24 hours
> Top counties: Pulaski 405, Sebastian 401, Benton 377, Washington 268, Garland 177
> Vaccination plans- Arkansas Emergency Management is helping with the plan for residents.

January 12, 2021 2:54 PM

Governor Hutchinson 1/12/21 COVID Press Conference
>The State has received 227,500 doses of the vaccine and has given out 89,449 (39% of doses). Currently in the 1-A phase, health care workers, long term care residents/staff, and first responders.
> 24,700 doses designated for long term care facilities. Have given out 15.7% of those vaccines.
> Moving to a few 1-B subcategories on January 18. (70 and over, k-12 staff/employees, and higher education staff/teachers). These will be through community pharmacies. County by county approach. May be clinics, events for vaccinations.
> School districts will drive the teacher vaccinations.
> There are over 462,000 Arkansans aged 65 and older.
> 3,209 new cases in the last 24 hours
> An increase of 168 deaths to 4,121
> 25,702 total active cases
> Results of 6358 PCR tests, 4334 antigen tests in the last 24 hours
> Top counties: Pulaski 405, Sebastian 401, Benton 377, Washington 268, Garland 177
> Vaccination plans- Arkansas Emergency Management is helping with the plan for residents.

January 6, 2021 2:33 PM

Governor Hutchinson 1/5/2020 COVID Press Conference
LIVE: Governor Hutchinson Provides Weekly COVID-19 Update (01.05.21)
> Vaccines: Category 1A (which we are in now). This category is for high priority health care workers, long term care facility staff and residents, other high priority groups (which include primary care, urgent care, college/university student health center, K-12 health clinics and school nurses, dental clinics, EMS, fire, and law enforcement who serve as first responders, pharmacies, home health, private care/personal care, hospice care, dialysis centers, corrections officers, blood donation centers).
> 180,000 Arkansans are in group 1A. The goal is to complete this vaccination category by the end of January.
> Category 1B= people who are 70 and older, frontline essential workers (teachers and school staff, food and agriculture workers, firefighters/police not in 1-A, manufacturing workers, grocery store workers, public transit workers, child care workers, US postal service workers, essential government workers).
> Over 400,000 in category 1B (not counting essential workers). The goal is to complete this vaccination category within 60 days (about 2 months).
> Category 1C= people who are 65-69, people who are 16-64 with high-risk medical conditions, essential workers (transportation and logistics, water and wastewater, food service, shelter and housing, public safety, finance, IT and communications, energy, media, public health workers).
> Could be adjustments to categories 1B and/or 1C depending on availability of vaccines, acceptance rates, etc.
> How do I get the vaccine? For 1A, hospitals and pharmacies are setting up clinics and systems for distribution.
> ADEM (Arkansas Department of Emergency Management) Director AJ Gary will also work to coordinate logistics of the vaccination initiative for 1B, 1C, and general public.
> We have received 134,425 vaccines and distributed 37,884 since December 14.
> 4,107 new cases in the last 24 hours
> 24,408 current active cases (record number)
>Up 36 deaths to 3,836
> Record high number of Arkansans hospitalized with 1,323
> 5,224 PCR tests and 3,552 antigen tests in last 24 hours
> Total of 33,334 PCR tests and 7,451 antigen tests done this month
> Top counties: Pulaski 418, Washington 399, Benton 389, Sebastian 265, Garland 232
> Hospitals are feeling the pinch with high numbers of hospitalizations
> It is up to each citizen to slow COVID down by following the 3 w’s: Wear a mask, Wash your hands, Watch your distance.
> “This is not an exaggeration. The numbers are as they are”. Arkansas Department of Health Secretary, Jose Romero.
> This vaccine has been shown to be safe in all phases of research.
>Emergency funds to allow teachers to take 2 weeks of paid leave if they have tested positive for COVID, are in quarantine, or are caring for a dependent who has COVID are completely depleted. Secretary Key urges school districts to consider continuing that policy providing flexible leave. There are federal funds and grants available.

December 29, 2020 2:58 PM

Governor Hutchinson 12/29/2020 COVID Press Conference
> Extending Public Health Emergency an additional 60 days. It was set to expire on December 30.
> 2,718 new cases (1,449 confirmed cases and 1,269 probable cases)
> There are 1,161 people hospitalized
> Up 66 deaths in the last 24 hours to 3,603.
> 5,307 PCR and 6,457 Antigen test results came in in the last 24 hours
> Top counties: Pulaski 424, Benton 214, Garland 149, Washington 145, Faulkner 110, White 110
> We are getting the vaccines as expected; moving quickly for health care workers
> 31,700 Moderna doses are in, but only around 1200 vaccines have been distributed by the pharmacies. These are designated for people in long term care facilities.
> By January 16, every long-term care facility will have been offered a clinic for the vaccine.
> We expect to see a surge in cases from holidays, we are still seeing a 1/3 increase in daily new cases since Thanksgiving. 10% in hospitalizations since Thanksgiving.
> There are only 5% ICU beds available right now, but this in not spread out throughout the state. There are places in Arkansas where there are not beds available.
> Only 21% hospital bed capacity throughout the state.
> Asking to reconsider New Year's Eve celebration plans.
> Wear your mask, wash your hands, watch your distance, avoid crowds
> Getting about $558 million for education relief (K-12)
> Above the 10% positivity rate for PCR tests. 26% positivity rate for antigen tests.
>Over 330,169 PCR tests in December; 80,931 Antigen tests in December.

December 15, 2020 2:19 PM

Governor Hutchinson 12/15/2020 COVID Press Conference
>>We have received the first round of vaccines. Priorities lie in health care workers, emergency responders, staff and residents of long-term care facilities. The we will move to additional priorities and then the general public.
>> We will get an update from Pfizer every Friday about the next week’s shipment of vaccines.
>> This is a massive distribution effort with a lot of logistics.
>> NEA Baptist in Jonesboro has received their first batch of vaccines.
>> Last 24 hours: 2141 COVID cases (1236 confirmed, 905 probable). 905 is the largest number of antigen tests to date.
>> Over 12,000 tests were completed in the last 24 hours
>> 20,691 active cases
>> Hospitalizations up by 20 to 1,050 COVID admissions.
>> Up 26 deaths to 2,990
>> Over 10% positivity rate
>> 177,862 PCR tests so far in December
>> 36,460 antigen tests so far in December
>> Northwest Arkansas still has the highest number of new cases in the state.
>> The highest growing growth rate is the 0-17 age group. Every age group can carry the virus.
>> 0-17 age group= 9.1% growth rate, 18-24 age group=6.7% growth rate, 25-44 age group= 8.3% growth rate, 45-64 age group= 8.2% growth rate, 65+ age group= 8.4% growth rate
>> Daily average of COVID death by month March= 1.4, April 2.3, May 2.6, June 6.5, July 10.4, August 14.4, September 14.3, October 18.0, November 22.1
>> About vaccines- in addition to Pfizer vaccine, we will most likely have another vaccine from Moderna. In the same class as the Pfizer vaccine. FDA reviewing safety and efficacy. It will have a different age range (18 years and older).
>> Safety has not been compromised for the vaccines. In all 3 phases of the development, safety has been paramount.
>> We continue to expand antigen testing. One place we are expanding is in correctional facilities to stop the spread in a congregate setting. Department of Corrections has done over 44,000 rapid tests.
>> Education update: last week 35 schools made some type of modifications to on site learning. This week we have had 30, but 25 of those modifications are due to weather.
>> Arkansas Transfer System for COVID patients- matches the patient with the needed level of care and facility able to provide that care.

December 8, 2020 4:44 PM

Governor Hutchinson 12/8/2020 COVID Press Conference
>Governor has set up a number of community action meetings to spur local engagement.
> Has asked for those who are hosting an event to first call the Arkansas Department of Health for direction and assistance on safety protocols. ADH can help anyone having an event, not just those who have to have approval.
> VA hospital now has 10 approved COVID beds
> Received 125,000 additional rapid tests
> Case report: up 2283 new cases= 1437 confirmed (PCR test) and 846 probable cases (antigen test)
> 18,461 active cases
> Over 13,000 tests in the last 24 hours
> 1,081 people hospitalized
> Up 39 deaths to 2,752
> Top counties: Pulaski 230, Washington 175, Benton 151, Garland 118, Faulkner 115
> To date this month= 87,637 PCR tests, 16,332 antigen tests
> We are above 10% positivity rate for PCR tests
> Growth rates by public health region: 8.7% growth rate in NWA, 9.5% in central health region
> Growth rates by age: ages 0-17= 9.7% growth rate, 18-24= 7.4% growth rate, ages 25-44= 9.0% growth rate, ages 45-64 = 8.9% growth rate, ages 65+ = 9.5% growth rate
> Fastest developing growth rate is the 0-17 age group
> Wearing a mask at all times is essential when you are in contact with others
> Recreational and business travel is very highly discouraged
> 16 districts made changes to their learning plan this week
> 22 active modifications to education plans
> 187 districts have not had to make district-wide modification to their education plans
> Larry Shackleford, CEO of Washington Regional, part of the Governor’s COVID task force
> Resources are being pushed to their limits with contact tracing and nurse investigations because of the high numbers of cases

December 1, 2020 2:34 PM

Governor Hutchinson 12/1/2020 COVID Press Conference
-> 37% of ICU beds are used by COVID patients. In some regions, that number is much higher (57% in Southwest region). 35% in Northwest region
-> Hospitals, healthcare workers, Governor’s office, ADH are all working together to have a plan for increased hospital bed usage by COVID patients.
-> In the last 24 hours: an additional 1,142 confirmed cases, 808 probable cases = 1950 total new cases
-> Up 11 hospitalizations to 1,074
-> Up 10 deaths to 2,521 Arkansans who have died from COVID
-> Testing= 5,165 PCR tests; 4,365 antigen tests came in Monday.
-> Top counties: Pulaski 178, Benton 171, Washington 140, Saline 101, Greene 92
-> 333,142 PCR tests in November
-> 59,171 antigen tests done in November
-> Seeking approval from the State Education board to expedite applications and accelerated licensing for teachers this next semester.
-> 29 active modifications in schools at this time, down from previous weeks. Main driver is staffing issues when distance learning is used.
-> Engage Arkansas Campaign= engaging students who have not been as engaged. There are 110 districts that have opted in.

November 24, 2020 2:59 PM

Secretary of the Arkansas Department of Health Jose Romero stressed the three W's during the weekly COVID press conference: WATCH your distance, WASH your hands, and WEAR your mask. There is a very real potential to overload the health system if we do not take precautions.
Governor Hutchinson’s 1/24/2020 COVID Press Conference
-->Time from specimen collection by provider to entry in the ADH system= 2.5 day s (37 hours)
--> Time entry into the ADH system to Case Investigation started (as of 11/16/2020) 2 days, 20 hours (68 hours). When cases went up, contact the tracing system started to get clogged up.
--> In June the test--> contact tracing call was around 4 days. We have improved, but now we are going back up.
--> Yesterday the CDC changed their recommendations on contact tracing. Every state is experiencing delays with contact tracing.
--> Please continue to answer the call from contact tracers.
--> These are numbers that are contact tracers= 877-272-6819 or 833-283-2019 or 501-686-5875
--> 1,421 confirmed PCR cases and 701 probable cases
--> 2,122 new cases, yesterday we had about 1,000 less cases yesterday.
--> Hospitalizations have increased by 14 to 988
--> Testing yesterday= 10,350 PCR tests and 4,571 antigen tests
--> Tests so far this month= 258,124 PCR tests and 44,130 antigen tests. Far exceeding our goals on testing.
--> Deaths have increased by 18 to 2,405 Arkansans who have died from COVID-19.
--> Thanksgiving guidance- Avoid travel. Stay home. Celebrate with your immediate household.
--> Most Arkansans are choosing to keep others safe. Plan more than food and football. Stay home. Stay outside. Keep it brief. Stay apart. Wear a mask.
--> A third vaccine has shown efficacy and should be moving forward for emergency use for the FDA.
--> States will receive an allotment of vaccines. They will go to health care providers first. We will not get enough for everyone. The state will prioritize the vaccine.
--> Three W’s= WATCH your distance, WASH your hands, and WEAR your mask. There is a very real potential to overload the health system if we do not take precautions.
--> Most hospitals are very busy because of normal Thanksgiving and the addition of high numbers of COVID patients.
--> 20% of in-patients in the Arkansas Baptist Hospital network are COVID patients= 199. 60 of which are in ICU. Those cases in critical care take up 1/3 critical care beds.
--> There are only so many nurses in the state, this is a resource that is not increasing.
--> We can open more beds, but we must have the staff to do that.
--> Thank you to the healthcare workers in Arkansas for continuing to give.
--> 37 schools that have current educational plan modifications. Total to 267 inactive, meaning they have returned to normal instruction.
--> Schools are doing a good job of targeting their response. Only 29% of all modifications have been the entire district (and this includes weather related modifications)

November 17, 2020 3:17 PM

Governor Hutchinson 11/17/2020 COVID Press Conference
>The winter COVID task force and the subcommittees have been meeting
>Thursday Governor Hutchinson will be on a conference call with VP Biden and his transition in conjunction with Gov Hutchinson’s role as the Vice Chair of National Governor’s Association
> White House report for Arkansas uses this language, “given the change and the slope of the last two weeks (post Halloween) Arkansas is on the precipice of a rapid, accelerating increase in cases which will be followed with new hospital admissions.”
> As we look at the approaching holiday season, Arkansas will have an additional 1,000 deaths because of COVID before Christmas. We must follow the guidelines to take control of the virus.
> Up 1,554 cases in the last 24 hours- combination of confirmed and positive
> 1,145 confirmed cases in the last 24 hours
> 409 probable cases in the last 24 hours
> 16,576 active cases, up 91
>895 are currently hospitalized.
> Increased number on ventilator
> Deaths up 20 to 2,245
> Continue with significant testing. 7,452 PCR tests in the last 24 hours; 3,234 antigen tests in the last 24 hours
> To date in November- 166,519 PCR tests
> To date in November- 27,320 antigen tests
> Northwest public health region has the largest number of active cases
> Three W’s= wear your masks, wash your hands, and watch your distancing.
> Strongly suggests not taking people out of congregate settings like a nursing home for holiday celebrations.
> ADH will need to hold people accountable in restaurants. They have been giving warnings for four months, accountability will be a bit more aggressive for those who are not in compliance.
> Gave an update on the business interruption grant- available for those in the hospitality and personal care industry. Grants will be provided based on reimbursements for certain costs. Portal open through November 25 (not a first come, first serve grant). 888-722-1554 is the Business Interruption Center
> Schools affected by COVID 19: Nov 8- 14= 46 alternations from normal learning plan. An additional 16 made modifications. 62 current learning modifications.

November 10, 2020 2:22 PM

Governor Hutchinson 11/10/2020 COVID Press Conference
>There is no good news in the numbers and reporting today. We have a lot of work to do in Arkansas and across the nation. We have to remind ourselves of the responsibility we have
>Up 975 PCR confirmed cases, 449 probable antigen cases. 1,424 new cases in the last 24 hours.
>Up 4 deaths
>Up 24 hospitalizations
>Testing strong at 7,175 PCR tests and 1,787 antigen tests
>Counties with 20 or more cases (there are now 20 counties on that list): Pulaski 131, Washington 114, Benton 104,
>256 positive cases in the Benton County jail
>There are hundreds of cases that are coming from places of worship. When people congregate together there is a risk associated with it.
>New guidelines for places of worship:
It is possible to worship safely in-person if ADH guidelines for places of worship are followed.
Masks need to be worn at all times by all congregants, except those who are exempt under ADH guidelines. Masks are the biggest factor that contributes to safe worship.
Strict 6-foot physical distancing applies to everyone aside from family groups, both indoors and outdoors. Seating in the sanctuary should follow this distancing.
Unmasked congregational singing is the primary driver of transmission in churches- even if people are six feet apart. Singing produces aerosols that can increase the risk of transmission of COVID-19.
>Dr. Sonny Tucker, Executive Director Arkansas Baptist State Convention. We must follow safety guidelines and consider the holidays.
>Seven day rolling average is going up. Daily average of confirmed new cases continues to go up.
>There are over 10,000 active cases.
>Hospitalizations are also up to over 810. Hospitals are having to make adjustments due to COVID cases.
>Percent positivity of PCR tests around 8.6%
>Northwest is the top public health region of new cases.
>Growth rate by age group: 0-17= 7.6% growth rate, 18-24=5.5% growth rate, 25-44=6.5% growth rate, 45-64=7.4% growth rate, 65+=8.6% growth rate
>Benton County has a 14% positivity rate
>Vaccine being worked on has a 90% efficacy rate, which is similar to the vaccines we use for children to prevent whooping cough diphtheria, and approaches measles.
>New monoclonal antibody that can be used to fight the virus. The State will receive 900 doses to help treat COVID.
>Last week 21 schools had to make on-sight adjustments. The previous week 6 schools that had to make modifications. Schools have very difficult decisions to make. The rumor that the State is going to call off school from Thanksgiving to Christmas is just that, a rumor and unsubstantiated.

November 3, 2020 3:46 PM

At the Governor's COVID press conference today, Arkansas Hospital Association President Bo Ryall said, "every part of the state healthcare workers are reporting fatigue from treating COVID patients. As we begin to think about our own fatigue, let’s consider the effort going on by health care workers across our State and their fatigue. These healthcare heroes have been working around the clock to treat COVID patients and to begin to see decreases in hospitalizations we as a state need to remain vigilant in complying in wearing a mask, social distancing, hand washing, and avoiding large gatherings. "

Governor Hutchinson 11/3/2020 COVID Press Conference

>Governor Hutchinson revealed his COVID-19 winter strategy to reduce the cases and hospitalizations through a layered strategy; most importantly we all have to work together. Individual responsibility: social distancing and crowd avoidance, wearing a mask, get a flu shot. Support from health officials, schools and the community through testing, contact tracing and quarantining, compliance checks, marketing campaign, and vaccine distribution.
>Increase of confirmed 520 and 358 probable cases= 878 new confirmed/probable cases.
>310,239 PCR tests in October (nearly 10% of the State population)
>40,209 antigen tests in October.
>Down 21 hospitalizations.
>Bo Ryall- President and CEO of Arkansas Hospital Assocation: The hospitalizations are beginning to put stress on the healthcare system throughout the State. Bed capacity is tight in the central and northeast public health regions. However, the real stress to the system is the number of healthcare workers available to staff the beds. 10% of occupied beds have COVID patients. 26% of occupied ICU beds are COVID patients. 31% of ventilators are in use by COVID patients.
>Hospitals are currently not seeing any major deficiencies in PPE or testing supplies but continue to see a shortage of healthcare workers.
>Every part of the state healthcare workers are reporting fatigue from treating COVID patients. As we begin to think about our own fatigue, let’s consider the effort going on by health care workers across our State and their fatigue. These healthcare heroes have been working around the clock to treat COVID patients and to begin to see decreases in hospitalizations we as a state need to remain vigilant in complying in wearing a mask, social distancing, hand washing, and avoiding large gatherings.
>If we continue to see these cases escalate, we in turn will have hospitalizations increase, and the stress on the healthcare system will be felt. Hospitals are stretched thin in some areas and we ask that you please adhere to the safety measures again of wearing a mask, social distancing, hand washing, and avoiding large gatherings.
>Up 18 deaths
>Tested 6410 both PCR and antigen tests
>This week we have 10 districts that have current onsite modification. 185 have returned from an onsite modification to regular in-school education.
>118 school districts have signed up with Engage Arkansas with 15,000 student referrals. These student referrals have been identified as not being engaged at a proper level with their online learning.
>Crude death rates in Arkansas by cause of death (compared current COVID numbers to 2018 data) cancer 219.8, heath attack 94.4, COVID-19 65.8, cardiovascular disease 51.5, diabetes 39.6, suicide 18.4, motor vehicle accidents 17.8, pneumonia 17.6, influenza 4.7
>Twelve counties have more than 20 cases- Benton 96, Washington 77, Pulaski 66, Craighead 38, Sebastian 37, Saline 34, Greene 31, Faulkner 28, Miller 24, Mississippi 24, White 23, Crawford 22
>Still seeing this disease spread across the state. Please take care with family gatherings.

October 27, 2020 3:09 PM

Governor Hutchinson 10/26/2020 COVID-19 Press Conference
>Confirmed PCR cases up by 651 in the last 24 hours to a cumulative total of 100,061 confirmed PCR cases.
>27 additional hospitalizations to 676
>Up 20 deaths to 1,696
>Probable cases- up 301 antigen cases.
>Brings both antigen and PCR to 952 new cases in the last 24 hours
>PCR 7,000 tests and Antigen 1,795 tests in last 24 hours
>Growth rate- Northeast region has 7.7% growth rate, 4.5% growth rate in NWA.
>65+ age group still has the highest growth rate
>65+ 7.9% growth rate, 45-64 age group 5.7% growth rate, 25-44 age group 4.9% growth rate, 18-24 age group 4.0 growth rate, 0-17 age group 4.8% growth rate
>Have tested 258,820 so far in October. Testing 10% of Arkansas population in October.
>Top cases by county: Pulaski 146, Benton 77, Washington 72, Craighead 66
>Hospitalizations are increasing- a good portion represented by the 65+ age group.
>We need to carefully consider bringing family together for the holidays. Please be cautious over the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.
>A percentage of the antigen tests were distributed to schools (and other organizations)
>Active cases in K-12 is low
>11 schools had modifications last week. This is the lowest weekly number of modifications since school began. >Currently 17 active modifications.

October 20, 2020 2:32 PM

Governor Hutchinson 10/20/2020 COVID Press Conference
>This is the 153rd update the Governor has given
>Unemployment went from 7.4% to 7.3% in the last month
>Governor Hutchinson was in a meeting with an individual who tested positive, though the Governor was not within six feet of the individual, he has taken precautions to limit his interactions. Goveror Hutchinson had COVID tests Monday, both PCR and antigen tests were negative.
>628 new cases in the last 24 hours with 216 probable cases. 840 total cases.
>Up 24 to 637 hospitalized.
>Up to 14 to 1576 deaths.
>100,000 Arkansans have had COVID-19.
>7,159 active cases
>Testing- PCT= 5439 tests, antigen 2,429 tests.
>Cumulative positivity rate 7.6
>Antigen positivity rate 14.9%
>Hospitalizations are a concern. Capacity is “tight”
>NW public health region has a growth rate of 8.3%
65+ is still the fastest growing age demographic at 7.5% growth rate, although ages 0-17 is 4.4% growth and 17-24 is 4.3% growth.
>Positivity rate has edged up some over the last few weeks.
>To date in October= 187,970 PCR tests and 24,638 antigen tests
>Counties with more than 20 cases: Pulaski 62, Washington 39, Benton 38, Craighead 32, Crittenden 25, Crawford 21, Green 20
>Latest numbers show that the mask mandate is not being adhered to recently. We need to continue to wear masks, use social distancing and wash hands frequently.
>October 11- October 17: 20 different schools had some type of learning modification, which is an increase from the week before.
>There have been 158 total learning modifications since the beginning of school, but only 16 currently active district modifications.
>Issued a proclamation for October 20 as a day of volunteer prayer for Arkansas.

October 13, 2020 2:35 PM

Governor Hutchinson 10/13/2020 COVID Press Conference
>Executive Order to continue the public health emergency for the next 60 days.
>There is still hospital space, even with high numbers in the hospital
> Up 481 PCR cases in last 24 hours, and added 199= 680 new cases to the total
> Down 3 to 605 hospitalizations, 110 on ventilators
> Up 24 deaths, 1462 deaths from COVID
> 5990 PCR tests, cumulative 7.6% positivity rate
> 1472 antigen tests
> 88,870 confirmed cases, with 84,055 recovered
> 7,839 active cases
> Highest growth in cases is in Northeast Arkansas (over the last week)
> Growth rate in 65+ is highest rate. The 18-24 age group growth rate has been reduced significantly.
> Pulaski 56, Benton 44, Craighead 32, Lonoke 24, Garland 22 cases
> You can have COVID and flu at the same time. ADH urges all Arkansans to get a flu shot.
> We need to continue to be vigilant against COVID. Wear a mask, continue social distancing, and wash hands thoroughly and often.
> Governor encourages people to spend money with businesses who are safe and follow the guidelines.

October 6, 2020 2:14 PM

Governor Hutchinson 10/6/2020 COVID-19 Press Conference
>Updates to the Long-Term Care Directive Update- We need to adjust protocols for nursing homes so they can have visitors.
>Minimum visitation at long-term care facilities may occur in the following situations if approved by the resident's health care provider- medical treatment, compassionate care situations.
>Expanded visitation may occur at Long=term care facilities that meet the following requirements: the facility has not had a newly positive COVID case in 14 days; the facility meets all staffing requirements; the facility has adequate PPE to meet the needs of residents and staff; the facility screens every visitor, employee, contactor, and vendor entering the building; and the facility will restrict access to persons who do not meet screening criteria.
>Halloween Guidance: wear a cloth face covering instead of a costume mask alone or on top of your cloth face covering; limit the number of houses children visit; only eat factory-wrapped candy that has been wiped with a sanitary wipe. Low-risk activities include: carving and decorating pumpkins, decorating your house, having a virtual costume contest.
>CASE REPORT- up 532 in last 24 hours to 84,203 cumulative cases
>Up 5 hospitalizations to 529 (new high)
>Up 22 deaths to 1321 Arkansans who have died from COVID
>6,157 PCR test, 7.7% cumulative positivity rate
>1,059 antigen testing, 12.6% positivity
>Active cases in colleges has gone down, but the active cases in the 0-17 age group has gone up with a 5.3% growth rate over the last week.
>Top counties: Washington County 57, Pulaski 43, Benton and Faulkner 27, Sebastian 25, Craighead 23
3,841 probably cases
>White House says we are showing an impressive decline, but we need to temper that with continued vigilance and continued mask wearing, increased hand washing, and physical distancing.
>22 schools are currently in some form of modification
>6 new active modifications in schools
>25% are virtual learners right now.
>Engage Arkansas= provide support to districts on reengaging students. These will be in education renewal zones. Engage Arkansas will create strategies for students who are disengaged, no-shows, and at-risk students. The program will include telehealth counselors and academic coaches.

September 29, 2020 2:32 PM

Governor Hutchinson 9/29/2020 COVID-19 Press Conference
>Arkansas is still in the red zone according to the weekly White House COVId report. However, it says, Arkansas has seen stability in new cases and test positivity in the last week.
> Active cases in school:
K-12 public school districts: week beginning 9/21= 748, week beginning 9/28= 717
Colleges/universities: week beginning 9/21= 701, week beginning 9/28= 490
>Increase of 482 cases in last 24 hours for a total of 80,003 cumulative cases
> Down 6 hospitalizations to 490
> Up 21 deaths to 1,204 Arkansans who have died from COVID-19.
> We have a low positivity rate, but a high number of cases.
> Active cases- down in the last few days
> Cumulative tests in Arkansas= 1,002,538 (part of the winter strategy was to reach one million PCR tests)
> Antigen tests- have done over 21,000 in August (more than doubled the September goal)
> Growth rate of new COVID cases in Arkansas (September 20-Setpember 26) by age group= 0-17 years old is 6.4% growth rate; 18-24 is 6.5% growth rate; 25-44 age group is 5.5% growth rate, 45-64 age group is 6.5% growth rate; 65+ age group is 8.2% growth rate.
> Growth rate by region= Northwest has the fastest growing rate. Northwest Arkansas is also the most active in number of cases.
> PCR testing in last 24 hours- 5,394, antigen testing 1,167
> 482 new cases in last 24 hours, only 6 in correctional
> 72,265 have recovered
> Four Counties over 20 cases in last 24 hour= 65 Washington, Pulaski 47, Sebastian 33, Benton 31
> Reminder of the proper wearing of masks. It should be worn covering the nose and mouth.
> 36 schools are under some modification (93 have inactive modification- which means they have returned to in-person learning)
> 26 schools needed modification last week (most likely from Labor Day weekend)
> Football games have been cancelled as a response to local active cases. This has been under the guidance of ADH.

September 22, 2020 2:27 PM

Governor Hutchinson 9/22/2020 COVID-19 Press Conference
>Up 486 cases in last 24 hours
>Cumulative total of 74,772
>6,188 confirmed active cases in the community.
>2,209 probable cases
>67,519 recovered, 585 since yesterday.
>Up 12 hospitalizations to 459
>Up 12 deaths to 1,060
>Tested 6,810 PCR tests; did 651 antigen tests
>NWA still has the most active/positive cases of all the Arkansas health regions.
>Highest growth rate throughout the state is 18-24 years old
>You can get COVID and the flu. We need to have more people get the flu shot.
>Goal is to perform 1 million by October 20. Have completed 897,000 PCR tests, working toward the one million number.
>Trying to increase consistency of contact tracing.
>Three parts of contact tracing process. 1- Sample collected, positive results sent to ADH (an average of 3 days, 9 hours, 23 minutes). 2- Case assigned to a nurse and nurse completes investigations (an average of 1 day, 17 hours, 49 minutes). 3- Case assigned to a contact tracer and tracer completes activities (23 hours, 10 minutes).
>Top 5 counties: Pulaski 80, Benton 55, Craighead 30, Sebastian 28, Washington 26.
>We are in the 5th week of school. 106 schools have had to modify operations. 83 have already moved back to normal operation. 23 schools currently have some type of modification (not all are directly related to COVID).
>379 active cases in correctional facilities. 39 inmates have passed away from COVID.
>Lost wages assistance program. Deadline to certify for lost wages program is September 25.

September 15, 2020 2:25 PM

Governor Hutchinson COVID 9/15/2020 Press Conference
>First weekly COVID update
>Department of Health has received 12,000 antigen tests- will allow for two months of antigen testing
>Adding 139 new deaths to total COVID deaths. These are “probable” death. Probable cases are being reported. These “probable deaths” are persons diagnosed as a probable case, and then expired. Also, those who have COVID on death certificate as a contributing cause of death.
>Tested 102,808 for September 15 to date. Goal of 190,000 PCR tests with an additional goal of 10,000 antigen tests. 6% of the population is 180,000. Tested 6888 antigen tests since September 1.
>Positivity rate for PCR tests- has gone down consistently in the last month.
>Can get updates on
>6,030 active cases= 5,719 active confirmed cases, 311 active probably caes
>PCR tests- 5852; 880 antigen tests with 188 positive= 21.4% positivity rate
>479,000 K-12 students in Arkansas. Only have 574 active cases in our schools.
>Hospitalizations up by 11 to 389.
>1,003 confirmed COVID deaths
>70,125 confirmed cases, 1232 probable cases
>Added 675 recoveries to 63,415
>Overall positivity rate is 8.3%
>Washington 91, Pulaski 71, Benton 48, Sebastian 47, Jefferson 23, Garland 22, Faulkner 21, Craighead 20.
>14- day moving average of percent positivity by county. Helps individuals compare county positivity rate.
>39 COVID modifications from school districts in some form or fashion. 22 of those modifications are still ongoing.

September 11, 2020 2:31 PM

Governor Hutchinson 9/11/2020 COVID Press Conference
>1,107 new cases, a new high number of cases
>Nearly 13% of the new cases are from colleges and universities. That age group is one of the biggest contributors to the positive cases.
>225 positives of the new cases came from one lab
>No new hospitalizations- steady at 392
>Up 13 deaths to 953 as a result of COVID
>Tested 7,801 tests in last 24 hours. Will be doing contact tracing on a broad number of cases.
>459 antigen tests, 78 were positive. 20.5% positivity rate
>67,911 cumulative cases
61,245 recovered. Up over 500 recoveries
>5,713 active cases
>Ten counties over 20 new cases: Pulaski 105, Washington 91, Craighead 61, Benton 52, Sebastian 51, Jefferson 437, Crawford 35, Faulkner 25, Garland 24, Carroll

September 10, 2020 3:17 PM

Governor Hutchinson 9/10/2020 COVID Press Conference
>Will be going to a weekly update or as needed. Weekly updates will start on Tuesday.
>Still in a public health emergency
>Given 143 daily updates
>Suicide prevention lifeline 1-800-273-8255. En Espanol 1-888-628-9454
>398 new cases for cumulative total of 66,804
>Down 19 hospitalizations to 392
>Up 12 deaths to 940
>Washington County- only 37 new cases. Hope that’s an indication that we’re making progress at the U of A
>4,900 PCR (molecular) tests, cumulative positivity rate of 8.3%
>Active cases continue to go down.
>Tested 4,900
>Antigen tests- 430 in last 24 hours, 70 were positive. 15.4% positivity rate
>Antigen tests will post antigen tests by county on ADH website
>4,513 antigen tests performed so far this month. Results are continuously higher than PCR tests.
>Top 4 counties: Pulaski 72, Washington 37, Jefferson 33, Craighead County
>Mental Health is one of the top conditions coming to the surface during the pandemic
>All school districts have submitted a plan to the Dpt. Of Education. All students will continue to have a robust education plan

September 9, 2020 1:59 PM

Governor Hutchinson COVID 9/9/2020 Press Conference
>Expanded capacity and partnerships in testing. ADH partnering with Baptist health= will increase testing capacity 20%.
>Up 385 new cases to 66,406 total cumulative cases. Total of 499 new cases (114 of those new cases are through antigen testing)
>Up 2 to 411 hospitalizations
>Up 11 deaths to 928
>Tested 5,208 in last 24 hours (699 antigen tests) 114 positive cases of the antigen tests
>15.4% positivity rate with antigen tests
>We’re ranked in the middle of southern states for cases per 100,000. Top is Louisiana and lowest is Kentucky.
>59,920 recovered, added 660 new recoveries
>Top counties: Washington 42, Craighead 21, Pulaski 31, Benton 24, Jefferson 23
>New mandates for restaurants have been placed on the ADH website
>Arkansas Economic Recovery Task Force has a new report on

September 8, 2020 3:06 PM

Governor Hutchinson 9/8/2020 COVID Press Conference
>Arkansas joining multistate purchasing agreement to get a larger volume of antigen tests.
>Using $4 million to purchase 120,000 antigen tests. This is CARES ACT funding.
>Cases- over 1,000 new COVID cases on Friday.
>294 new COVID cases. 66021 cases
>Up 10 to 409 hospitalizations
>Up 9 to 917 deaths
>5154 tests done in last 24 hours
>139 antigen tests- 119 negative of those tests
>Below 6,000 active cases. This has dipped.
>You can see positivity rate in your county on the Arkansas Department of Health website. Benton County is 6.8%
>White County, Hempstead County, Jackson County, and the City of Humnoke will all receive grants for broadband for access to education. Total 5 Million.
>Total recovered 59,260, up 503 yesterday
>Cross County- 30 cases, Washington 29, Pulaski 28. Only three counties with over 20 new cases.
>7.1% unemployment rate. 7 consecutive weeks of lowering unemployment claims.
>Lost Wages Assistance- Additional $300 weekly benefit. Eligible if you receive unemployment with a benefit amount of $100 or more and you self-certify that your unemployment is due to COVID. Regular UI claimants should self-certify using the Arkline 501-907-2590 or Arknet. PUA claimants are automatically eligible. No need to self-certify.

September 4, 2020 2:11 PM

Governor Hutchinson 9/4/2020 COVID Press Conference
>Reminder that we need to be safe and precautions
>Highest number of new cases to date
>Up 1,094 new cases for a cumulative 64,175 total cases
>Down 24 to 401 hospitalizations
>Up 12 deaths to 873
>11,254 tests in the last 24 hours
>Washington County had 215 of the new cases. 82% were in the 18-24-year-old category
>Craighead County 43% of the new cases in the 18-24 age range
>Active cases in Arkansas= approximate 5,800
>Northwest Arkansas cases are heading back up after taking a dip. This is most likely because of college students.
>University of Arkansas is banning any on-campus AND off campus gatherings of more than 10. This will fall under the student code of conduct.
>Number on a ventilator has also gone down
>Top counties: Washington 215, Pulaski 87, Benton 56, Craighead, Jefferson 24, Sebastian 21
>PLEASE CONTINUE to wear masks, social distance and wash hands often

September 3, 2020 2:22 PM

Governor Hutchinson 9/3/2020 COVID Press Conference
>Up 969 cases to 63,081 cumulative
>Decline down 10 to 425 hospitalizations
>Up 20 deaths to 861
>7,827 tests in last 24 hours
>Top County is Washington County. 211 of the 969 new cases. 81% of the new cases in Washington County were 18-24 years old.
>Urging college students to take precautions over the weekend.
>Cluster of deaths from Mississippi County (nursing home)
>Top Counties: Washington 211, Pulaski 90, Benton 47, Jefferson 38, Sebastian 36, Saline 33, Faulkner 27, Craighead 25
>Infection in universities/colleges are driving us forward. Significant case numbers from college because of less than rigorous implementation of recommendations. Need to socialize in a responsible manner.
>Current case count for Department of Corrections- Varner Unit, Wrightsville Cases, Benton Work Release Center have the majority of the cases.
>Two additional school districts- Jacksonville and N Little Rock have had to adapt learning options. More students have been impacted by weather more than COVID over the last two weeks.

September 2, 2020 2:57 PM

Governor Hutchinson COVID-19 09/02/2020 Press Conference
> 615 new cases reported, cumulative total 62,112
> Up 12 to 435 hospitalizations
> Up 27 deaths to 841
> 4,773 tests performed in the past 24 hours
> Average state positivity rate of 8%
> Top counties for new cases: Washington 67, Pulaski 62, Benton 60, Craighead 49, Garland 26, Celine 21, Mississippi 20.
> Department of Health website breaks down positivity rate by counties. These numbers vary based on population and positive test results. Little River County 26%, Hempstead County 11.2%, Benton County 6.5%, Washington County 6.2%, Crawford County 7.3%, Pulaski County 6.7%.
> Dr. Romero – We are seeing more cases on college campuses across the state. Reminder that you can control this growing number and control it through measures we have discussed many times before. Use of masks, social distancing, enhanced sanitation, avoidance of large crowds. It today’s environment it is important that you keep in mind the social responsibility you bear to bring this pandemic under control.

September 1, 2020 3:17 PM

Governor Hutchinson COVID-19 9/1/2020 Press Conference
> 273 new cases reported, cumulative total 61,497
> Up 3 to 423 hospitalizations
> Down 2 to 85 on ventilators
> Up 17 deaths to 814
> Top counties for new cases: Pulaski 44, Benton 29, Sebastian 24, Washington 21
> In response to a question yesterday about the proportion COVID-19 deaths that have other causes and contributing factors, here is the data. In Arkansas, 5.5% of all COVID-19 deaths had no other contributing factors or underlying conditions. The remaining 94.5% of people had underlying health issues as contributing factors.
> Additionally, it was asked how many people that go into the hospital recover from the hospital vs. pass away. Typically, Arkansans have had a 78.9% recovery rate from hospital to home.
> Dr. Romero – Free testing events this week are as follows:
Tuesday through Thursday
8:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
University of Arkansas
Baum Stadium Lot, Fayetteville.

3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
Jefferson County Local Health Unit
2306 Rike Drive, Pine Bluff.

3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
University of the Ozarks
415 N. College Ave, Clarksville.

4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Garland County Library
1427 Malvern Ave., Hot Springs.

3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Paragould Community Center
3404 Linwood Dr., Paragould

August 31, 2020 3:06 PM

Governor Hutchinson COVID-19 08/31/2020 Press Conference
> 368 new cases reported, cumulative total 61,224
> 5,466 active cases
> Up 29 to 420 hospitalizations
> Up 3 to 87 on ventilators
> Up 13 deaths to 797
> 4,542 tests performed in the last 24 hours
> Top counties for new cases: Pulaski 52, Pope 41, Benton 30, Garland 21
> Overall state positivity rate 8.2%
> We've had a correction that some might have noticed in the last 24 hours. We have had 11,300 negative tests added into the system. We discovered a commercial lab was not reporting all the negative tests to the Department of Health, but we have got that corrected and those are now entered.
> Johnny Key – We have seen two school districts in the state modify their operations under the ready for learning plan. They have moved today to virtual instruction for their high schools. In both cases, they have been impacted by the loss of staffing due to quarantine.

August 28, 2020 3:56 PM

Governor Hutchinson COVID-19 08/28/2020 Press Conference
> 838 new cases reported, cumulative total 59,583
> 5,496 are active cases = 225 in nursing homes, 268 in correctional facilities, and 5,003 active community cases.
> Down 26 to 407 hospitalizations
> Down 4 to 95 on ventilators
> Up 17 deaths to 756
> Top counties for new cases: Pulaski 65, Benton 49, Washington 41, Pope 39, Faulkner 29, Jefferson 27, Sebastian 27, Craighead 25, Mississippi 21, Garland 21, Independence 20
> Overall state positivity rate still under the 10% marker
> As we go into the weekend, we had a good week in education, and I want to thank all the students the athletes the teachers and the staff who's done a remarkable job of getting us through this week in the safest fashion possible. Now it comes to the weekend and I would remind everyone that we have to be responsible in the weekend because what happens with our behavior on the weekend will impact us next week and the week beyond in terms of our schools our workplace our families. Practice social distancing even during the weekend.
> Dr. Romero – it is necessary for people to stay in quarantine until they receive their test results back. They could be potentially infectious during that time period. Stay in quarantine until you hear back that it’s safe for you to come out of quarantine.

August 27, 2020 2:36 PM

Governor Hutchinson COVID-19 8/27/2020 Press Conference
>Yesterday 58,023 up 722 cases to 58,745
> 6,682 tests in last 24 hours
> Down 2 hospitalizations to 433
> Up 7 deaths to 739
> Top counties for new cases: Pulaski 64, Benton 37, Sebastian 37, Pope 34, Jefferson 32, White 29, Celine 27, Garland 20
> Overall state positivity rate 8%
>Public School Districts – 222 active cases, 101 cumulative faculty/staff cases, 441 cumulative student cases, 544 cumulative total cases (since June 15th)
>College / Universities – 41 active cases, 15 cumulative faculty/staff cases, 90 cumulative student cases, 108 cumulative total cases (since June 15th)
> Dr. Seema- with high school football starting back up, it is important that bands also adhere to the guidance that was issued. We are hearing reports of bands not adhering to social distancing and not using face masks or the necessary covers for their wind instruments. If we do not do that, there will be consequences with infections in the bands. This is an activity that can lead to transmission of the virus. This guidance is in place to protects students and adults in that area.
>Dr. Seema – Clarification on the CDC modifications that testing recommendations for individuals that were exposed but asymptomatic. We are continuing to seek testing for those individuals that were exposed to a positive individual, whether asymptomatic or exhibiting symptoms.

August 26, 2020 2:34 PM

Governor Hutchinson 8/26/2020 COVID-19 Press Conference
>Zero COVID cases at Cummins and Ouachita River Unit. Clear from positive cases.
>Up 649 new cases for a cumulative total of 58,023
>Down 7 to 439 hospitalizations
>Up 21 to 732 deaths
>Tested 4,378 in last 24 hours for a total of 148,620 test in August. Goal is 190,000.
>5,390 active cases= 258 in nursing homes, 727 correctional facility, 4,405 community cases
>70% of deaths are aged 65+
>Emphasized face coverings. The idea behind it, it blocks the air that we expel when we talk, laugh, sing, etc. Masks need to cover your nose and mouth well. Masks with valves are not acceptable and focused the stream of air out. Stand away from a person who has a mask on with a valve. Neck gaiters and bandanas do not provide the coverage needed. If you wear them, they need to be doubled up.
>Arkansas Ready for School Resource Call Center at 1-833-353-6050 for English and 1-501-218-4015 for Spanish. Call center for families, students, teachers, school administrators.
>Legislature has given the approval for the FEMA increased level of compensation for pandemic unemployment assistance. It will take some time to make those changes and adjust it and get those out.

August 25, 2020 2:20 PM

Governor Hutchinson 8/25/2020 COVID-19 Press Conference
>$100 M has been put into the expansion of broadband, high speed internet. $7 million grants have been made through this program. Several cities are/will be recipients of that grant.
>Arkansas has “moved out of the red zone” to the yellow section of the White House COVID report
>Up 480 new cases to 57,374 cumulative COVID cases
>Down 24 to 442 hospitalizations
>Up 15 deaths to 711
>5,312 active cases
>Top Counties with more than 20 cases: Pulaski 80, Faulkner 41, Sebastian 38, Saline 22

August 24, 2020 2:41 PM

Governor Hutchinson COVID19 8/24/2020 Press Conference
>320 cases to 56,894 cumulative cases (11 correctional cases)
>Down 34 to 466 hospitalizations
>Up 9 deaths to 696
>4,629 tests performed
>5,509 active cases
>140,065 cumulative tests
>Discussed the process of contact tracing, nurse investigations.
>Please provide correct numbers and email address to the ADH
>Added 438 recovered to 50,689
>4,449 tests done in last 24 hours
>Top Counties: Pulaski 46, Faulkner 36, Poinsette 23
>1/3 of the positives were asymptomatic on August 10 (case study day.)
>People can pass along the virus if they are asymptomatic
>Local health unit will test anyone.
>To have a successful school year, we ALL need to be following the guidelines. From staff to students to family members and coaches, we ALL need to be wearing masks, washing hands, social distancing.

August 21, 2020 2:09 PM

Governor Hutchinson COVID-19 8/21/2020 Press Conference
>Unemployment rate has been reduced to 7.1%, down a full percentage point in June. The June unemployment rate was 8.1% and May had an unemployment rate of 9.6%. Currently unemployment rate is 3% below the national average.
>Increase of 887 cases for a cumulative total of 55,652.
>Up 10 to 509 hospitalizations.
>Up 22 deaths to 663. (largest number in a single day) 11 occurred in nursing home facilities, 7 of which from a single county.
>6,396 tests done in last 24 hours.
>49,135 recovered individuals. Up 677 from yesterday.
>Active cases 5,854.
>Top counties more than 20 cases: Pulaski 80, Washington 57, Benton 47, Sebastian 38, Pope 33, Stone 30, Faulkner 29, Lonoke 25, Craighead 24, Crawford 23, Crittenden 22, Sevier 21, Garland, Independence and Poinsette each have 20.
>Seven day rolling average has an uptick due to the higher number of new cases today.
>Northwest Arkansas health region had an uptick, but still overall a downward trend in cases.
>Clusters of cases are coming from group gatherings not associated with schools, but other activities. Those activities lead to more cases. We ALL need to continue to social distance and wear a mask.
>Completed the goal of 100% testing of state prison system. Reach the goal that was set approximately one month ago. Results is 14650 inmates tested. 5120 tested positive. Roughly 35% of inmate population. Positivity rate has been reduced to 4% now. Tested 4728 prison staff with 378 positives. Total of 19378 inmates and staff tested. Testing will be ongoing in the prison population.
>Medical marijuana cards- 6-month extension will come to an end September 30. Renew the applications now so you don’t have a delay.
>ADH warning about recent scams: legitimate case investigators and contact tracers affiliated with ADH will never ask you payment or request any credit card or bank account information. Legitimate AHD inspectors carry identification with the agency logo and will always be willing to provide it when asked. They will never ask for money. If you want to verify that you have been contacted by an ADH case investigator or contact tracer, you may call 800-803-7847.

August 20, 2020 3:13 PM

Governor Hutchinson COVID-19 8/20/2020 Press Conference
>Up 549 cases to a cumulative total of 54,765
>Steady at 499 hospitalizations
>48,558 recovered. Increase of 792 recoveries.
>Top counties with 20 more- Pulaski 51, Sebastian 35, Jefferson 29, Crawford 22, Garland 24, Craighead >21, Mississippi 20, Pope 20
>Up 10 to 641 deaths (3 are from nursing homes, 3 delayed reporting from July)
>Tested 6,898; received 10,358 antigen tests
>Daily positivity rate was well below 10%
>115,915 total tests to date in August – goal is 190,000 tests with 10,000 antigen tests (antigen test numbers already reached)
>We are testing approximately 6% of the population each month.
ACHI and Dept of Health and Dept. of Education will have more detailed testing information for our school districts. By number of cases per 10,000, also able to show the trends for the cases and the county level of testing.
>Once exposed an infected with the virus, it could take up to 14 days to show that you are positive for the virus.
>Positive test= have the virus, are infections and have been infected
>Negative test= does not mean that you have not been infected by the virus. It only means that the virus has not decided to make enough of itself to detect. Could still have a positive test up to 14 days out. >Even if you have negative test, you must quarantine yourself for 14 days.
>ACHI (Arkansas Center for Health Improvement) information has been updated on their website. Including school district information.
>Schools have a number of data points that must be considered before they consider their response. Response is not just a reaction to the number of active cases or number of cases per 10,000.

August 19, 2020 2:24 PM

Governor Hutchinson COVID-19 8/19/2020 Press Conference
>Arkansas will be submitting its application to FEMA for the $300 a week enhanced unemployment compensation.
>UAMS modeling that was released yesterday (8/17/2020) Governor Hutchinson and Sec of Health Dr. Romero appreciate all the data that can help drive policy making. Can’t measure the true accuracy in terms of predictions because they don’t measure active cases. We should be paying attention to the hospitalizations. Peak has been modified in the modeling at least 4 times- which shows the flattening of increase of cases.
>Up 729 new cases to a total 54,216.
>Recovered 47,666, up 696
>Up 7 hospitalization to 499
>Up 12 to 631 deaths
>6,025 tests done in last 24 hours
>Active cases- 5,919= 38 nursing home, 961 correctional, 4,920 community cases
>To date in August= 108,581 tests. Goal was 190,000 PCR tests, 10,000 antigen testing
>CDC recommends testing 2% of the population every month, for Arkansas would be 60,000. Our goal was 120,000, which is 4% of the population. In July we were at nearly 7% of the population.
>ABC (Alcohol Beverage Control) 1,210 COVID inspections. 90% of businesses are complaint. 113 violations, many of which are verbal warnings. 17% of those not in compliance have been issued citations.
>Ten counties with 20 or more cases: Pulaski 65, Jefferson 56, Sebastian 52, Craighead 33, Washington 32, Pope 30, Benton 29, Mississippi and Garland 25, Johnson 22
>Large event plans= those who have applied need to adhere to the guidelines and plans.

August 17, 2020 3:56 PM

Governor Hutchinson COVID-19 8/17/2020 Press Conference
>Over 15,000 private school students and 2,000 staff are already back to school. Public education will resume on-campus August 24-26.
>412 new cases, Total cumulative cases 53077
>6341 active cases= 38 nursing home cases, 994 correctional cases, 5,309 community cases
>Tested 4,093
>Up 8 to 486 hospitalizations
>Up 4 to 603 deaths
>Pulaski County 54, Sebastian County 21. All the other counties have less than 20 cases
>Active cases in Arkansas= 5136
>Positivity rate is approximately 10%, seven day rolling average is 10% as well
>200,000 testing goal in August
>Congregate and familial gatherings have an enormous impact on the spread of the virus
>When you have more than 10 people together, there is a definite risk of transmission
>ADH continues to “clean up data” including removing individuals who are notified twice, out of state residents that were counted as in state, etc.
>School district case data- parents should be aware of “what’s going on”. The data should allow school districts to make better decisions and will also provide facts that shut down rumors

August 13, 2020 2:27 PM

Governor Hutchinson 8/13/2020 COVID-19 Press Conference
>Up 652 cases to 51,766 cumulative cases
>Down 13 to 473 hospitalizations
>Up 9 to 582 deaths
>Decline in active cases to 6,582
>5,192 tested in last 24 hours
>Rolling average continues to go down
>As we move into school, we will have more cases- specifically the 10-18-year age group
>7 day percent positivity among children (July 1-present) is going downward.
>652 new cases- 639 community, 13 correctional cases
>added 786 recovered persons to 44,602 total recoveries
> 6,582 active- 71 nursing homes, 735 correctional; 5,776 community cases
>Total testing 67,416 to date
>Arkansas Ready to Learn Healthy School Guide- best practices for school officials, educators and families to get back to on-campus learning
>Dr. Pfeffer, Dpt. Of Education- understands that parents and kids are fearful going back to school.
> Supplies look at little different this year since school supplies will not be shared. New supplies include hand sanitizer, face masks, water bottle
> Schools received CARES funding already to help with PPE

August 12, 2020 2:45 PM

Governor Hutchinson COVID-19 8/12/2020 Press Conference
>Up 703 new cases up to 51,114 cases in Arkansas
>Of the 703= 678 community cases, 24 correctional facility cases
>Up 818 to 43816 recoveries
>6,725 active cases- 69 nursing home cases, 741 correctional, 5,915 community cases
>Down 21 to hospitalizations to 486
>Up 7 to 573 deaths
>703- increase from yesterday, down from previous three days
>Top Counties= Pulaski 78, Sebastian 43, Logan 47, Garland 42, Jefferson 33, Pope 30 more under including Washington
>4,401 tests done yesterday
>The virus is in every community of the State- both rural and urban areas
>Positivity rate- approximately 7.5% positivity
>Consortium of states and the Rockefeller Foundation will work together to strengthen our place in the marketplace for testing, commercial labs, etc. Governor signed a letter of intent to join the consortium
>Governor is visiting high school in Monticello to do a visual inspection of their preparation. To see how we can better prepare for the upcoming school year.

August 11, 2020 2:26 PM

Governor Hutchinson 8/11/2020 COVID-19 Press Conference
>Up 383 to 50,411 cumulative cases- 313 community, 69 correctional cases
>Down 1 to 507 hospitalizations
>Up 11 deaths to 566
>4,140 tests done in last 24 hours 9.25% positivity
>Cumulative Antigen tests to date in August += 1836
>Working to provide school district level data for active cases, positivity rate and cumulative cases. Working with ACHI to get that done and be able to have that information for school districts.
>868 recovered since yesterday 42998 recovered
>6,847 active- 60 nursing home cases, 817 correctional, 5970 community cases
>Top counties= Pulaski- 63, Sebastian 31, Carrol 20

August 7, 2020 2:15 PM

Governor Hutchinson COVID-19 8/7/2020 Press Conference
>47028 yesterday, up 1011 cases
>Up 1,011 new cases to 47,028
>Up 9 hospitalizations to 523
>Up 6 deaths to 521
>48,039 cases cumulative in Arkansas>
>7,158 active cases- 53 nursing home cases, 687 correctional, 6418 community cases
>Tested 6,224 yesterday
>805 recoveries
>14 counties over 20 cases= Pulaski 182 (100 in correctional), Jefferson 61, Craighead 53, Mississippi 44, Sebastian 43, Washington 41, Independence 40, Benton 32.
>Positivity rate is over 10%
>COVID Emergency Leave for School Employees: proposed $20M from Cares Act funding, Up to 2 weeks paid leave, available for teachers and support staff, can be used by school employees who must quarantine for COVID related reasons.
>Executive Order- if you have a COVID related concern about going to the polls in November, you will be able to apply for an absentee ballot.
>High School sports (in accordance with the Arkansas Activities Association) will be able to engage in contact drills next week.

August 5, 2020 2:05 PM

Governor Hutchinson 8/5/2020 COVID Press Conference
>Dr. Jose Romero named the permanent cabinet level Secretary of Health for Arkansas.
> Yesterday- 45,381, up 912 cases today to 46,293
> 158 in correctional units, fairly flat for community cases
> Down 10 to 516 hospitalizations
> Recovered cases= 28,848
> Active cases 6,937- 88 in nursing, 513 correctional, 6336 community cases
> Up 18 deaths to 508
> Total cases 46,293 cumulative
> 912- Top counties- Chicot 149, Pulaski 79, Sebastian 51, Washington 42, Mississippi 35, Garland 29, Craighhead 28, Saline 26,
> Percent positive- "too high” as it’s over 10%
> Total tests- 5,077 we have a substantial backlog in testing with commercial labs.
> Projected cases (by UAMS) 55000 total cases by August 10
> UAMS model projects 3,686 cumulative hospitalizations, 543 deaths by August 10.
> Department of Health has new directives and guidelines for school sponsored music, band and choir
> Have a plan to test 100% of inmates in State facilities (19 state facilities) 10 facilities have already been fully tested. Goal is to have 100% of inmates tested by the end of the month.
> Arkansas National Guard will help with the testing logistics in the prison
> Ready for School Call Resource Center- opened Monday. To provide readily accessible for parents and teachers to call if they have questions. 1-833-353-6050 8:00 am- 4:00 pm Monday- Friday.
> High School Sports- committee to look at reopening sports has met twice now. Very diverse group on the committee.

July 30, 2020 2:12 PM

Governor Hutchinson 7/30/2020 COVID Press Conference
>Up 791 new cases to 41,559
>Down 4 to 504 hospitalizations
> Up 8 to 442 deaths
> 6580 active cases
> Testing- 5598
> Top counties: Pulaski 73, Sebastian 57, Benton 47, Garland 44, Washington 37, Independence 34, Jefferson 31, Pope 30, Craighead 29, Mississippi 23, Faulkner 21
> Positivity rate hovering around 10%
> 181,456 cumulative tests in July 2020, about 6% of the population
> Total number of antigen testing (95% accurate) = 5,084 tests done since June- 4,506 (89%) negative, 548 (11%) positive, 3 (0%) inconclusive
> Want to get antigen test equipment out to communities- will help with going back to school.
> 791 new cases- 32 correctional, 759 community cases
> 6,580 active cases- 77 nursing home cases, 3169 correctional facility cases, 6184 community cases
> 34,737 recovered. An increase of nearly 800 from yesterday
> Now hospitals/physicians can decide if someone who needs to have elective surgery done, if they have to get a COVID test.
> Active cases will be listed on the ACHI website
> Over 100 communities. More than 400 communities that have at least one active case.
> Siloam Springs has 66 active cases currently.
> Tomorrow- will have an update on contact sports for the fall. Include cheerleading, volleyball, football.

July 29, 2020 2:33 PM

Governor Hutchinson 7/29/2020 COVID Press Conference
>Press conference live from Russellville.
>$10 million provided for WIFI access points across the state. Verizon has joined the providers.
>Up 787 cases to 40,968
>Up 7 to 508 hospitalizations
>Up 6 to 434 deaths
>Testing 4,519. Cumulative positivty of 8.2%
>Top counties: Chico 150, Pulaski 82, Sebastian 43, Benton 33, Little River 30, Craighead 24, Mississippi 22, Washington 22
>Of the 787 new cases, 170 are in correctional facilities
>Northwest Health region has approximately 12% growth rate. Benton County- 3,770 cases on July 19, 4,094 cases on July 29, with a growth rate of 8.6%.
>Age group growth rate in the Northwest Health Region: 65+ nearly 20%, 45-64 approximately 13%, 25-44 10%, 18-24 13%, 0-17 12%.
>Benton County 14-day rolling percent positivity 6.8%
>Private/commercial labs are doing less testing because of backlogs. White House said that testing will get better in August. They are working to beef up supply chains, increase production.
>787 new cases- 617 in community, 170 in correctional (145 in Chico Co)
>33938 recovered, increase of 750
>6,596 Active cases- 80 in nursing homes, 342 correctional, 6,174 community cases
>If you get tested, isolate until you receive negative results.
>It can take up to 14 days to develop the illness after exposure.
>20 days of isolation if you have severe symptoms or have been in the hospital.
>Arkansas is the highest per capita in the prison system.
>ADH will work with school districts to determine when they need to roll over to virtual learning.

July 28, 2020 2:19 PM

Governor Hutchinson COVID 7/28/2020 Press Conference
>Up 734 new cases to 40181 total cases
>Up 12 to 501 hospitalizations
>Up 20 to 428 deaths
>Top counties: Pulaski 55, Benton 50, Mississippi 48, Sebastian 45, Washington 45, Pope 36, Faulkner 34, and more. 11 counties had over 20 cases. Means the spread is all over the State
>5,248 tests in 24 hours
>170,119 tests in July (wanted to get to 200,000 tests)
>Below the 10% positivity rate, but nearly 9%
>8.1% positivity rate in Benton County
>734 new cases- 714 in community, 20 in correctional facilities
>6565- 79 in nursing homes 225 correctional facilities, 6221 in community
>Recoveries- 33,188 increase of 823 from yesterday.
>Recoveries= moved past the period of isolation. Could be anywhere from 10-20 days. ADH does not follow them after that time.
>Why is there such a lag in testing results? The bulk of the testing results come from commercial labs across the nation. These labs are simply overwhelming the labs for results. Dependent on the backlog of the lab. Which lab to use is made for by each individual hospital or testing facility.
>The facial covering mandate was needed and not something we take lightly. Wearing of masks is essential to bring the virus under control.
>Still not ready to make a call on contact sports. Teams are allowed to do non-contact drills. In terms of full contact sports- we are not ready to move forward.
> Will be in Russellville 7/29/2020

July 27, 2020 2:28 PM

Governor Hutchinson 07/27/2020 COVID-19 Press Conference
>Need effective online education in additional to in room instruction. Need better internet coverage. $10 million for WIFI access points for students across Arkansas. Will provide approximately 20,000 devices with up to 24 months of high speed unlimited data.
>Commercial labs have slowed down production- limited testing. ADH has ordered point of care testing equipment. 200 machines will start coming in next week.
>990 new cases Friday, 732 new cases Saturday, 642 new cases Sunday
>824 new cases today to 39,447 (4th highest day of new cases to date)
>Up 9 hospitalization to 489
>Up 7 to 408 deaths
>6,674 active cases
>Have tested 5929 in the last 24 hours
>Pulaski 120, Washington 62, Craighead 46, Benton 45, Sebastian 30, Jefferson 29
>Just below 10% positivity rate
>824- 814 community cases, 10 from correctional facilities
>6674- 81 cases in nursing homes, 294 cases in correctional, 6299 from the community
>164,001 tests to date in July.
>Dept will use $1million to purchase strategic stockpile of PPE for schools. This will help bridge the gap until schools can replenish their supply of PPE
>WIFI- work with carriers to make sure the devices are CIPA (Child Internet Protection Act) compliant.
>This will cover roughly 20,000 homes. There will be some households that still need assistance due to the lack of cellular network availability.

July 24, 2020 2:26 PM

Governor Hutchinson 7/24/2020 COVID-19 Press Conference
>Up 990 new cases to 37,249 total cases
>We must work together to change the curve. Social distancing and wearing masks are what makes a difference.
>Second highest day of new cases to date
>Up 17 to 497 hospitalizations
>Up 8 to 394 deaths
>Pulaski 144, Washington 82, Benton 55, Newton 55, Sebastian 38, Jefferson 37, Pope 37 (there are more that have more than 20)
>8,015 tests done in last 24 hours
>Cumulative positivity rate is 8%
>Every ten years we do the Census in the county. This is one of those years. Our response rate is down during the pandemic. Please make sure every person responds. This is tied to funding for everything from schools to hospitals to streets.
>You may respond via phone at 844-330-2020 and you can speak with a Census representative
>Via website at
>Full contact sports has still not been released. That is the continued guidance.

July 23, 2020 2:12 PM

Governor Hutchinson 7/23/2020 COVID Press Conference
>Solomon Graves- announced to be Secretary of Corrections.
>Cases- increase 1,013 to 36,259
>1,008 in community, 5 in correctional
>28,864 total recovered to date
>7,009 active – 146 nursing homes, 869 correctional facility cases, 5994 community cases.
>Largest number of community cases to date
>8% positivity rate
>How positivity rates are determined- total number of tests on any given day and the number of positive results from that day.
>133,054 tested in July
>Up 6 to 480 hospitalizations
>Up 6 to 386 deaths
>Counties: Pulaski 113, Washington 76, Benton 73, Sebastian 65, Craighead 41, Crittenden 43, numerous other counties with 20-30 cases.
>5,487 tests in 24 hours
>841 active cases in Dpt. Of Corrections and additional ones in county jails.
>Active cases in correctional facilities: Ouachita River Facility 577, Cummins 62, Tucker Reentry 20, Eastern Arkansas Regional Facility 14. Total active cases 869. Total deaths in correctional facilities= 21. Recovered in correctional- 3,765.

July 22, 2020 2:33 PM

Governor Hutchinson 7/22/2020 COVID Press Release
>Adding 125 jobs at the La-Z- Boy facility in Siloam Springs. All the workers were wearing masks at the Governor’s visit.
>Met with medical providers in NWA. Wants to thank medical workers. The stress of dealing with very seriously ill patients takes a toll on them emotionally. Thank you for the difference they are making.
>Again- return to school August 24.
>Visited with hospital administrators and how we can help.
>591 new COVID cases
>Hospitalization- down 14 to 474.
>Up 6 deaths to 380
>Testing- down a bit to 3933 tests in the last 24 hours
>Counties- Pulaski 80, Benton 46, Washington 38, Craighead 33, Faulkner 30, Garland 30, Pope 24, Crittenden 22.
>NW Health area- reached a peak in June, and since then on a decline. We still want it to come down lower.
>Hospitalizations in NW health area are also down. Very important because capacity was “tight” according to hospital administrators.
>10% growth rate in NW region. Washington around 13%. This is still a reduction in the growth rate.
>Dr. Romero- 591 new cases: 584 community cases, 7 correctional facility cases.
>27990 recoveries
>6,876 active cases- 140 nursing homes, 916 correctional, 5820 community cases.
>35,240 cumulative cases
>Washington County overall positivity rate- 22%
>Unusual distribution of cases- 72% of cases are 44 years and under. Acquiring disease in community and possibly spreading it at the workplace. Higher rate of children. 17.9% are children.
>11% of the deaths have come from Washington County, 60% are in the Marshallese population.
>Larry Shackleford- Hospital Administrator for Washington Regional.- the medical workers and community are tired.
>Mike Preston, Secretary of Commerce- 8% unemployment in Arkansas. 3% lower than national average.
>92,000 continued unemployment claims. It has dropped every week since May 9
>Week ending July 25- end of pandemic unemployment compensation (the additional $600) Congress is looking at this in relation to a new stimulus bill.
>Continue to keep an eye out for unemployment insurance fraud. 20,000 claims are under review status for fraud.
>Some days positivity rate is 20% in NWA. We all need to do everything we can to stop the spread of the virus. Wear a mask, socially distance, don’t have large gathering.
>Dr. Romero- children have not been shown to be spreaders of the virus. Specifically, under 10.
>It’s hugely problematic if people are waiting 7-10 days for results. Governor says they are working to improve that timeline.

July 21, 2020 2:11 PM

Governor Hutchinson COVID-19 7/21/2020 Press Conference
>Cases in 24 hours- up 728 cases- 122 in correctional facilities, 606 community cases
>17 additional hospitalizations to 488
>Up 11 to 374 deaths
>728- 7 counties with more than 20- Pulaski 110, Washington 62, Crawford 46, Benton 45, Sebastian 30, Jefferson 29, Saline 24. Remainder of the counties had less than 20 cases.
>5,760 tests in last 24 hours
>119,769 tests done to date in July= 4% of population
>NBC news clips- asking pediatric infectious disease doctors if they would send their kids to school. Asked 5 doctors- all said yes.
>Recovered= 27,283
>Active= 6,998- 138 nursing homes, 5,939 communities, 921 correctional facilities
>Cumulative positivity 7.9%
>Secretary Key- Department of Education: many schools have school options. Virtual and on-sight. All will start by August 26.

July 20, 2020 4:05 PM

Governor Hutchinson 7/20/2020 COVID-19 Press Conference
>Today is the first day of the statewide mask mandate- must wear a mask: if they are exposed to a non-household member and distancing of 6 feet or mor cannot be assure.
> Case numbers: Friday has 648 new cases, 771 Saturday, 695 new cases Sunday.
> 699 new cases to report today.
> 33,927 cumulative cases
> Washington- 94, Pulaski 60, Benton 57, Craighead 28, Mississippi 26, Pope 26, Sebastian 25, Arkansas and Faulkner 21 each, Garland and Miller 24 each.
> Hospitalized number keeps increasing- largest number to date with
> Hospitalizations per 100,000- Arkansas listed 3rd among AL, MS, AR, KY, OK, TN, KS, TX, LA, MO
> National guard assistance is now available. 10 personnel to support case management work at Washington Regional Medical Center for the next 30 days.
> 7 day rolling average of positivity- now below 10% but needs to get lower.
> Still pushing testing for July to test 3% of our population.
> Dr. Romero-
> 699 new cases- 688 community, no nursing home, 11 correctional
> 471 hospitalized, up 18
> Up 6 deaths to 363
> Total recovered at 26,397
> Active cases- 7,127
> 121 nursing homes; 1,093 correctional; 5,953 community active cases
> Testing has positivity rate of 9.6%
> Cumulative positivity rate of 7.8%
> 5,689 tested July 19
> Low Income Home Energy Assistance: Arkansas has been allocated 8.2 Million for additional assistance. Also raised the limit to $1500 for those who are struggling with electric, water, etc. Run through Arkansas Energy & Environment/ Department. Opening Date July 27. In Benton County, those wanting to apply for this assistance can email Will go through September 30, 2021
> Mitchell Simpson- Director of Office of Energy. This program will assist low income Arkansans. Typically, crisis program requires application to submit a shut off notice- they can just provide a past-due notice.
> Air conditioner program- low income, qualifying Arkansans- elderly, disability, child under 5, medical condition that requires A/C. (please see program for details). Launch July 27.
> Reaching the testing goal for July: likely will not reach the 200,000 tests. Currently at 112,646.

July 17, 2020 2:08 PM

Governor Hutchinson COVID-19 7/17/2020 Press Conference
>Economic crisis- state unemployment rate has declined again from 9.6% in May to 8% in June. National average is 11%.
> Yesterday: 31,114 cases. Up 648 to 31,762 cumulative counties
> 6,633 active- 131 in nursing homes, 101 in correctional facilities, 5,489 in community cases
> 581 recovered yesterday; 24,776 total recovered.
> Pulaski 68, Washington 44, Craighead 32, Pope 30, Benton 29, Garland 24, Sebastian 22, Saline 21,
> 5,861 tested in last 24 hours
> Down 6 to 464 hospitalizations
> Up 12 to 353 deaths.
> Arkansas Center for Health improvement- Dr. Joe Thompson
> City level data is now available for COVID cases through ACHI- Arkansas Center for Health Improvement
> Will be tripling the contact tracing capacity in the next month.
> Hopefully doubling the capacity for testing in public health labs.
> Through ACHI (Arkansas Center for Health Improvement) 600 communities have cases in Arkansas (did not report on communities with less than 10 cases)
> Emphasized that enforcement is necessary for the mask mandate. But communities of course will be able to prioritize needs for enforcement.
> City Chiefs of Police have a role to play and will be acting based upon the local priorities.
>A lot of people are taking vacation- did they go to a hot spot, what were they doing- ought to consider if they should be tested and if they should quarantine.
> Please continue to be vigilant against the virus. There is still a lot of community spread. Follow the guidelines with washing hands, wearing masks, avoid large groups, maintain physical distancing.

July 16, 2020 2:34 PM

Governor Hutchinson COVID-19 7/16/2020 Press Conference
>STATEWIDE MANDATE FOR FACE COVERINGS that will begin Monday, July 20.
>Face coverings mandate goes into effect next Monday:
>The Secretary of Health shall issue a public health directive requiring every person in Arkansas to wear a face covering over the mouth and nose:
>In all indoor environments where:
--They are exposed to non-household members and
--Distancing of six (6) feet or more cannot be assured and
>In all outdoor settings where:
--There is exposure to non-household members, unless there exists ample space of six (6) feet or more to practice physical distancing.
>Executive order- violation is a misdemeanor offense and upon conviction punishable.
>Case numbers: Yesterday had 30,297 cases, up 817 to 31,114
>81 correctional cases, 736 new community cases.
>6,578 new active cases- with 138 in nursing, 978 correctional, and 5,465 in community
>Up 12 to 470 hospitalizations
>Up 6 deaths to 341
>6,020 tests done in last 24 hours
>Rolling positivity average of 7.6%
>Pulaski 114, Washington 68, Benton 48, Sebastian 43, Pope 40, Yell 26, Faulkner 27, Arkansas 20, Craighead 22, Garland 24
>Dr. Romero- grateful to the Governor for the mask mandate. Masks have been shown to decrease the transmission and are essential against this disease.
>ICU capacity- Baptist Health has 11 hospitals through Arkansas. Staff 1500 acute care beds. 200 ICU beds in major facilities across Arkansas
>June 18- 181 ICU patients out of 200 bed. 16 COVID positives in ICU.
>July 16- 161 ICU patients, 32 COVID positive in ICU.
>89 COVID 19 patients in Baptist hospitals- double the number of patients since last month.
>Still have ICU capacity.
>Hospitals run on 80-95% ICU capacity of any given day, even before COVID.
>Each hospital has a surge plan
>Baptist Health Research Lab is beginning a Phase 3 clinical trial for COVID19 vaccine. Eligible to participate over 65 or 18-65 if you work outside the home.
>Arkansas Department of Health is not releasing City data. (Question from reporter) What’s the harm in releasing City data? (Answer from Director Romero) Issues of HIPPA, IT issue and policy issue. It is being discussed and if it is appropriate the data will be released.
>If a County has no positive cases for 28 days and they are doing adequate testing, then the county could get an exemption to the statewide mask mandate.

July 15, 2020 3:12 PM

Governor Hutchinson COVID-19 7/15/2020 Press Conference
>Walmart announced today that they will require customers to wear masks in Walmart stores and Sams Clubs
> 5,146 tests done in the last 24 hours
> 7 day rolling average positivity rate is “too high” according to the Governor
Yesterday 29,733 cases, additional 564 cases in last 24 hours to 30,297
> Up 13 to 458 hospitalizations
> Up 4 to 335 deaths
> Of the 564 new cases- 78 correctional 486 in the community
> 6,439 active cases- 130 in nursing homes, 979 in correctional facilities, 5330 active community cases
> 679 recovered in the last 24 hours.
> 23,523 recovered
> Top counties: Pulaski 78, Sebastian 52, Washington 46, Benton 38, all other counties less than 20
> To date testing in July- 80,862.
> Overall positivity rate in State is 7.6%
> About 90% of those hospitalized from COVID-19 will have some type of continued symptoms, even though they have recovered. (Dr. Smith)
> 1% of the State’s population has had COVID-19, but this is a communicable disease. You have to attack the disease even if only 1% has been infected.
> Local school districts- responsible for finding substitutes, if teachers should receive hazard pay, etc.

July 14, 2020 2:32 PM

Governor Hutchinson COVID-19 7/14/2020 Press Conference
>Governor discussed the state strategy to reduce the spread of the virus, save lives and safely reopen the economy and get people back to work.
> 6,563 tests done in last 24 hours
> Up 794 new cases to 29,733 total cases
> 794- 33 in correctional, 761 in the community
> 6558 active case- 130 nursing, 971 correctional 5457 active community cases
> 738 recovered- 22844 total recovered
> Hospitalizations up 6 to 445
> Up 8 to 331 deaths
> Pulaski 111, Washington 68, Sebastian 52, Pope 41, Johnson 37, Benton 36, Craighead 29, Faulkner 24
> 200 new active cases a DAY in NWA Health Region at this time.
> Continue to give the guidance and information we have at the time because things are changing rapidly. However, the governor’s office and ADH continue to work on consistent messaging that’s linguistically and culturally appropriate.

July 13, 2020 2:41 PM

Governor Hutchinson COVID-19 7/13/2020 Press Conference
>Masks- What we are in total agreement on is masks is the one tool we have to reduce the spread of the virus. Masks will make a difference for us.
>Yesterday 572 new cases. Friday 751 new cases. Saturday 1061 new cases- LARGEST increase of cases to date. Sunday 503 new cases.
>28,367 total cases yesterday, up 572 cases to 28,939
> 6510 active cases- 127 nursing home cases, 958 correctional cases, 5425 active community cases.
> 572 new cases- 77 Pulaski, 53 Washington, 40 Sebastian, 25 Pope, 23 Benton, 23 Mississippi, 22 Crittenden, 20 Craighead, 20 Jefferson the rest are lower than 20. This shows the community spread is wide across the state.
> Up 19 to 439
> Up 2 deaths to 323
> 5253 tests last 24 hours
> 7.5% cumulative positivity rate
> 140 hospitalized in NWA. Governor says we have adequate hospital capacity.
> New positive cases (community cases, not correctional cases) July 11-13 Benton County 133, Washington County 211, Pulaski County 205.
> 22,106 recovered
> Dr. Nate Smith- talking about masks: Surgical masks and cloth masks are designed for source control. This keeps the wearer’s germs from becoming airborne. They work very well. They are not designed to protect the wearer against COVID19.

July 10, 2020 2:20 PM

Governor Hutchinson COVID-19 7/10/2020 Press Conference
>Yesterday 26052 up 751 cases to 26803
>751 new cases- 149 in correctional, 602 in community
>5,847 are active cases= 123 in nursing homes, 584 correctional facilities, and 5,140 active community cases.
> Additional 650- total recovered 20642 recovered to date.
> Top counties for new cases: Hot Spring County- 145, Pulaski 100, Benton 54, Washington 51, Sebastian 42, Faulkner and Pope 25, Jefferson 23, Yell 21, Sevier 7
> Up 8 to 402 hospitalizations
> Up 4 deaths to 313
> 5,212 tests in last 24 hours
> Statewide growth rate by age group: 0-17= 20% growth rate, 18-24= 22% growth rate, 24-44= 18% growth rate, 45-64 = 17% growth rate, 65+ = 14% growth rate
> Testing results have gone back up to 2.5 days to get results back. This is due to increased testing. Wait time will continue to go up because of number of tests. Working to get more resources in commercial labs.
> Overall state positivity rate 7%
> Cases are going up in southern, southwestern states in a dramatic way. The virus does not let up. We cannot either and must work very hard to reduce the spread of the virus.
> We’ve worked hard on education- and it’s a national message as well as a state message about the benefits from a medical standpoint of wearing a mask. People understand that. You’d have to be hiding under a rock somewhere not to get the message that has been conveyed consistently as to how you protect others. But it’s also common sense as you can see that that protect you and others from the spread of the virus.
> Dr. Smith- the evidence is very clear that masks are very useful in source control. The idea of the masks we are wearing is that it will catch the respiratory droplets that come out of my nose, my mouth so they don’t get into the air and you don’t breathe them in.

July 9, 2020 3:30 PM

Governor Hutchinson announced a new start date for K-12 schools during his COVID-19 press conference. He also revealed the second highest number of cases to date with 806.
Governor Hutchinson COVID-19 7/9/2020 Press Conference
-Yesterday we had 25,246 cases; up 806 new cases to 26,052
-Second highest day of new cases since the pandemic began.
-Of the 806- 110 correction, 696 in community
-5751 active cases- 131 cases in nursing homes; 444 in correctional facilities; 5,176 active cases in community.
-596 recovered 19,922 have recovered to date
-Up 36 to 394 hospitalized
-Up 4 deaths to 309
-Counties: Pulaski 104, Washington 78, Sebastian 56, Benton 49, Faulker 51,
-4754 tests yesterday
-Cases are scattered throughout Arkansas
-Overall positivity rate is 7.2% Want to get positivity rate down by wearing masks and social distancing.
-We are going to be having school next year.
-Arkansas ready for learning: Flexible, practical, adaptable, inclusive and accessible
-Districts must be prepared to shift to other instructional delivery methods should the need arise.
>>>School will now start August 24, but no later than August 26. <<<
-School districts will give feedback about COVID response to a case locally.
-Education Secretary Key said Education Department is working with districts to make an easier transition to virtual learning if needed.
-Local school districts can require masks. It is strongly suggested, but ultimately up to the districts since schools are very different. One school might have enough space to social distance where masks wouldn’t be required. Another one would have to require masks because space is tight.
-Not a statewide policy if teachers get sick and there’s a teacher shortage. That will be handled locally.
-Higher education has an independent role and decision process. This only applies to K-12.

July 8, 2020 2:19 PM

Governor Hutchinson COVID-19 7/8/2020 Press Conference

-Yesterday 24,512; up 734 cases to 25,246

-4th highest day of new cases at 734

-Of the 734 new cases 104 correctional, 630 community cases

-5,545 are active cases- 125 in nursing homes; 350 in correctional facilities, 5,070 active community cases

-Additional 671 recovered yesterday. Cumulative of 19,396 total recovered.

-Down 11 hospitalizations to 358

-Up 4 deaths to 305

-Top Counties for New Cases: Washington 72, Pulaski 87, Benton 60, Pope 46, Mississippi 39, Yell 32, Johnson 26, Saline 21

-4,567 tests done in the last 24 hours

-Do not quit trying to fight this virus. Be aware everywhere you go.

-Positivity rate is around 8% for last 24 hours

-Washington County testing- testing done at Washington Regional Medical Center (limited in their ability to do large quantities, people can also go to the public health unit- which has more capacity to get tested).

-Cumulative rate of COVID cases per 10,000 by county: Washington- approximately 175 per 10,000; Benton County- approximately 115 per 10,000.

Steuart Walton:
Gilmore Strategy Group did a survey of 600 adults across Arkansas.

#1 Issue in Arkansas:

COVID-19 42%

Economic Crisis- 18%

Social issues- 7%

Government- 7%

Crime- 6%

Education- 3%

Taxes –2%

Other- 10%

Don’t Know- 5%

Do you wear personal protective equipment like a mask in public places?

82% responded with YES

16% responded with NO

2% responded with DON’T KNOW

Younger age groups (18-24 and 25-34 specifically) have a higher likelihood of not wearing PPE

If you work outside of your home, do you feel your workplace is following proper protocols and guidelines in response to COVID-19

58% responded YES

9% responded NO

33% said not applicable or don’t know

As you may know, large events like professional and college sporting events, K through 12 sporting events, fairs and concerts were paused or cancelled because of COVID-19. Knowing this, do you favor or oppose large events resuming this fall?

54% opposed, (with 37% of that 54% strongly oppose)

37% were in favor (with 19% of that 37% strongly in favor)

Asked of adults with kids (43% of respondents). How likely would you say you are to send your kids back to school this fall for in-person instruction?

59% said likely

32% unlikely

9% Don’t know

Compared to pre-COVID, how comfortable are you doing in-person activities like going to the grocery store, getting a haircut, going to a gym, going out to eat or going to church?

55% said comfortable

41% uncomfortable

4% Don’t know

-Modeling data and models for case numbers will constantly change.

-It’s important to work toward bringing down an upward trajectory of cases. We have done this before and need to do it again. That means wearing masks and social distancing.

July 7, 2020 2:16 PM

Governor Hutchinson COVID-19 Press Conference 7/7/2020

-Yesterday 2,4253; additional 259 cases to 24,512

-236 were community cases, 23 in correctional facilities

-5,486 active= 117 in a nursing, 273 in correctional facility, 5096 active community cases

-891 recovered yesterday

-18,725 total recovered

-Up 32 to 369 hospitalizations. A significant increase; the largest increase to date.

-Up 9 to 301 deaths (5 of the 9 are under 65, 4 of the 9 heaths were under 65)

-Top counties: Pulaski 57, Benton 26, Washington 14

-Tested 3,366. (one indicator of the lower number of new active cases)

-Positivity was less than 5%

-Testing more than MS, OK, TX, MO, AL, KS, KY MS

-Unemployment Claims- has dropped a bit over the last two weeks from over 120,000 to approximately 105,000. This week is under 100,000 unemployed.

-Cumulative numbers for Washington County- over 4,000. Benton County- over 3,000

-330 million dollars have been dispersed through pandemic unemployment assistance. Over 43,000 applicants who have been improved.

-Unemployment insurance- leveling off. Peak was May 9 at 122,000 continued claims. Continued claims today 97,000.

-We are seeing an uptick in unemployment fraud. Some are using names and personal information of those who are either retired or currently employed. IF this happens to you, you can:

Call 501-682-1058 to speak with ADWS fraud unit

File police report


Visit and complete the secure form

-ADH is still working on releasing active case numbers by city. Currently only releases numbers by county.

July 6, 2020 2:44 PM

The Governor announced the new testing goal for July is 200,000. He also announced two contracts for more contact tracers.

Governor Hutchinson COVID-19 Press Conference 7/6/2020
-Saturday reported 587 new cases
-Sunday 605 new cases
-Additional 439 today- 8 in correctional, 431 in the community
-6127 active cases- 117 in nursing homes, 456 in correctional facilities, 5554 community cases. Now have at least one case in all 75 counties.
-Yesterday 23,914; up 439 to 24,253
-Increase of 21 to 337 hospitalized
-Up 5 deaths to 292
-Additional 701 recovered in last 24 hours. A total of 17834 recovered cases
-Top counties in new cases: Washington: 77, Pulaski 46, Yell 36, Benton 36
-3,615 tests in last 24 hours (down because of holiday weekend)
-There is a steady decline in new cases in NW health region
-Hospitalizations- while we have more than we have cumulatively, there seems to be a flattening out. -Additionally, we have needs spread across the state.
-Percent positive- there were a few days with over 10%, including today.
-Will raise the goal for testing in July. The new goal is 200,000 tests.
-Adding capacity to contract tracers- will have nearly 1,000 contract tracers. Funding is still being sought for an additional contract. The first investment for an outside contract was $20 million.
-ADH is keeping an eye on events, specifically those larger ones where people are not wearing masks.
-Contract tracing: working to speed up the process. Asking people to answer the call. The number is 877-272-6819 where the contract tracers are calling from.
-877- ARCOV – 19. Won’t usually call after 8:00. Will not ask for money or personal information. You can validate that it would be for jobs in contact tracing

July 3, 2020 2:08 PM

John Wilkerson, general counsel for the Arkansas Municipal League says, “by not wearing a mask you pose a direct threat to your community”, regarding the model ordinance.The Governor worked with the Arkansas Municipal League to create an Executive Order- gives cities the option to adopt the model ordinance to require masks. This should encourage the use of masks. It will also help support local businesses who have had a challenge enforcing the wearing of masks.

Governor Hutchinson 7/3/2020 COVID-19 Press Conference
-Yesterday 22,075, up 547 cases to 22,622
-Of the 547 new cases: 365 were community cases, 182 in correctional facility
-285, up 13 hospitalizations
-Up 2 deaths to 281
-Washington- 84, Benton 74, Pulaski 74, rest of the counties are less than 20
-Tested 6,947 over 24 hours
-Active cases- 6,177
-Of the 6,177 active cases: 156 in nursing; 671 correctional; 5,350 active cases in the community
-16,164 recovered
-Did 600 interviews via phone across a number of counties-
-Question: Do you wear person protective equipment like a mask in public places? 82% answered yes, 16% answered no.
-Question: 65+ has highest usage of PPE, lowest is the 18-24 age group
-Worked with AML to create a mask ordinance if cities wanted to do so.
-The Governor worked with the Arkansas Municipal League to create an Executive Order- gives cities the option to adopt the model ordinance to require masks. These ordinances will mandate if the cities choose to adopt them. Local law enforcement will support businesses if they choose to force customers to wear masks.
-John Wilkerson, general counsel for the Arkansas Municipal League says, “by not wearing a mask you pose a direct threat to your community”, regarding the model ordinance. This should encourage the use of masks. It will also help support local businesses who have had a challenge enforcing the wearing of masks.
-For the 4th of July: Outdoor gatherings are safer. Limit the number of attendees. Practice physical distancing. Wear masks if you cannot practice social distancing.

July 2, 2020 2:23 PM

Arkansas saw the single highest day of new cases since the beginning of the pandemic with 878 new cases bringing total number of cases to 22,075; 6,098 being active cases.

Governor Hutchinson COVID-19 Pres Conference July 2, 2020
-State law provides absentee voting if they will be unavoidably or be unable to attend a polling site on election day – this can apply to COVID-19.
-Both the chairman of the Democratic party and Republican party spoke to this point.
-Yesterday had 21,197 cases, up 878 cases to 22,075 cases
-Down 3 to 272 hospitalizations
-Up 2 deaths to 279.
-Top counties: Hot Spring 151, Washington 117, Pulaski 98, Benton 75, Sebastian 55, Faulkner 35, Crawford 23
-Tested 7,089 in last 24 hours
-Highest day of new cases
-878 new cases- at least 150 are correctional, 728 community cases
-6,098 are active cases
-15,698 recovered- 535 more than yesterday

July 1, 2020 2:45 PM

Governor Hutchinson COVID-19 7/1/2020 Press Conference

-If people don’t wear masks, we will not be able to have sports this year. We wear our masks to reduce the spread of the virus. If we reduce the spread of the virus, we could have sports.

-20,777 cases yesterday, up 420 to 21,197

-420 new cases- (at least) 33 in correctional, 387 community cases

-Of the 5,757 active cases: 153 in nursing home, 525 correctional facilities, 5079 active community cases

-Down 15 to 275 hospitalizations

-Up 7 deaths to 277

-Counties: Lee 69, Pulaski 49, Washington 48, Yell has 28, Benton has 20. Rest are less than 20 new cases in that county.

-Decreased the number of active cases to 5,757

-Testing 7,993 in the last 24 hours.

-Overall positivity 6.7%

-National Training Guard Exercise at Ft. Chaffee has been cancelled. There were over 4,000 guards coming from all over the US.

-15,163 recovered. More recovered today than new cases

-Of the 1,300 ever hospitalized- 20.2% are still hospitalized, 13.6% died, 66.2% discharged and survived.

-Of the 203 ever on a ventilator: 25.6% still on ventilator, 46.3% have died, 28.1% have been taken off the ventilator.

-We need consistency in practicing wearing masks and social distancing.

June 30, 2020 3:25 PM

Governor Hutchinson COVID-19 6/30/2020 Press Conference

-Yesterday we had 20,257 up 520 cases to 20,777 cases

-Down 10 to 290 hospitalization

-Up 5 deaths to 270

-520 new cases- Washington 152, Pulaski 118, Benton 33, Faulker 23, Yell 21. 18 in correctional facilities, 502 community cases.

-4,048 tests done

-5,976 mark for active cases- 120 nursing homes, 548 correctional facilities, 5,308 active community cases.

-Very small dip in hospitalizations

-Around 7% positivity rate

-17,1944 tests done in June

-Governor continues to emphasize wearing masks and socially distancing

-14,531 recovered

-A second CDC team has joined in NWA research. They are studying transmission of COVID-19 in nursing homes.

-Large venue plans- plans are designed to make events as safe as possible. But a plan is only as good as its implementation. You must follow the instructions of the organizer.

-About ¼ of COVID-19 cases cannot be traced to a source or a specific exposure. This is found through the contact investigations.

-Contact sports still remain on pause. We will not move forward if cases go down.

June 29, 2020 2:25 PM

Governor Hutchinson COVID-19 6/29/2020 Press Conference

-Received 15,000 N95 masks from PPE procurement and FEMA

-Concerned with compliance with social distancing and wearing of masks.

-As we get back to life, we have to be smart about supporting business by wearing a face covering.

-Yesterday 19,818, up 439 cases to 20,257. Of the new cases 20 in correctional, 418 community cases.

-5,926 active cases- 116 nursing, 583 correctional facilities, 52,27 active cases in the community.

-14,066 recovered. Active cases are starting to balance with the newly recovered cases.

-Up 17 to 300 hospitalizations.

-Up 1 death to 265.

-Of the 439 new cases, County representation is: Washington 92, Pulaski 56, Benton 48, Sevier 31, Sebastian 22.

-Less new cases than the days in the last week.

-Last 5 days have had a decline in new cases.

-Positivity rate still under the 10% level.

-Tests done to date for June 167,168.

-Tested 4939 tests done in the last 24 hours.

-In April we were in the lower tier of testing per capacity of surrounding states. We have moved up significantly in testing per capita. (order of states listed most- least testing per capita: Louisiana, Tennessee, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, South Carolina, Alabama, Texas, Missouri, Kansas).

-Encourages everyone to be safe over the 4th of July holiday weekend. Wear a mask and social distance.

-Doesn’t want to have to close down bars/restaurants- in order to keep everything open we need everyone to do their part.

June 26, 2020 2:31 PM

Governor Hutchinson's Friday press conference revealed Arkansas' highest number of community cases to date with 669. The NW health area also has 43% of the hospitalizations in the state and 44% of ICU admits. There are 42 ICU beds available in NWA.

Please continue to wear your masks, social distance and wash your hands.

Governor Hutchinson COVID-19 6/26/2020 Press Conference
-Yesterday 18,062 addition 678 cases to 18,740 cases
-669 in community, 9 in correctional facilities
-5,707 active cases- 108 nursing home, 621 in correctional, 4,978 community cases.
-Up 0 to 284 hospitalizations
-Up 7 deaths to 249
-Tested 6,897 yesterday
-Washington 122, Pulaski 84, Benton 68, Sebastian 33, Faulker 31, Crittenden 26, Pope 22
-Largest number of community cases
-284 hospitalized= NW health region has 123 hospitalizations, 43.3% of the hospitalizations in Arkansas. -Major hospitalizations in the more populated areas of the state
-130 of those 284 hospitalized are in ICU Units. The NW health region has 44.6% of the ICU hospitalizations, at 58 ICU admits. 42 ICU beds still available in NW health region.
-In the 14 days prior to diagnosis, active COVID-19 cases visited the following types of businesses: restaurants- 2%, barbershops .6%, church 2%, daycare .3%, gym .3%, health and wellness (doctor’s office, dentists, etc.). 2%, hotel or motel .4%,
-There are a number of cases associated with church/places of worship settings in Arkansas. Governor and Director Smith encouraged those attending to follow CDC guidelines of washing hands, face masks and social distancing. A directive has not been given to the churches. If guidelines are not being followed ADH has reached out.
-851 active cases in the poultry industry.
-ABC (alcoholic beverage control) officers will now be reporting restaurants and bars that do not comply with the ADH directive.
-If the data shows that we are having outbreaks from bars/restaurants, then we could roll back restrictions.
-Absentee ballots- if voters do not want to have to go to the poll because of a concern about the pandemic, they can apply for an absentee ballot.
-Dr. Smith- ADH is considering releasing number of cases by city. There are some concerns about confidentiality.

June 25, 2020 2:12 PM

Governor Hutchinson 6/25/2020 COVID-19 Press Conference

-Yesterday 17,375 up 687 cases to 18,062 cases

-Of the 687 new cases 168 in correction, 519 community cases

-Active community cases- 4,750

-Washington Co 96, Benton 45, Pulaski 44, Lonoke 26, Sebastian 26

-Up 17 to 284 hospitalizations

-Up 2 to 242 deaths

-6,652 tests in last 24 hours total 141,515 tests so far in June.

-Overall positivity rate of 6.5%

-Third highest day of new cases to date in Arkansas.

-Number of active cases is on a steep incline.

-Benton and Washington County- slight dip down in case numbers.

-12,127 who have recovered

June 23, 2020 2:24 PM

Governor Hutchinson COVID-19 6/23/2020 Press Conference

-Yesterday 16,083 cases, additional 595 cases to 16,678 cases

-595 new cases- 212 in correctional facilities, community cases- 383

-5,921 active cases- 103 in nursing homes, 779 in correction, 4339 active community cases

-11,220 recoveries. Increase of 427 from yesterday.

-Benton County Jail- 188 cases and 13 staff have tested positive.

-Those over 65 years old have represented over 70% of the deaths in Arkansas.

-6,366 cases in the NW public health region. 2,452 active cases in NW Region. 24% of these cases have been among poultry workers. NW Region- 8.7% positivity rate.

-Up 11 to 248 hospitalizations

-Up 10 deaths to 237

-5,344 tests done in last 24 hours

-Reached the June goal of 120k tests

-NW Region- Benton Co- 1,402 cases on June 14 and on June 20, 1,856 cases- 32.38% increase; Washington Co on June 14 had 1,803 cases, on June 20 had 2,319- a 28.62% increase.

-Positivity rate has been level, but still under that 10% national mark.

-UAMS predicting 133k total infections on September 30 (with a peak om Sept 30) with 3,326 hospitalized. Worst case model predicts 251,834 cases on September 19 and 6,295 hospitalizations.

-We have learned how to protect ourselves and stop the spread. Social distancing, wearing masks, increased hand washing, staying in while you are sick.

June 22, 2020 2:24 PM

Governor Hutchinson COVID-19 6/22/2020 Press Conference
-Yesterday 15,561 up 522 cases to 16,083
-5,063 active cases
-Of the 5,063 active cases= 106 nursing home residents, 642 in correctional facilities, 4,315 active community cases.
-Down 7 hospitalizations to 237
-Up 2 deaths to 227
-10,793 that have recovered
-7,049 tests done in the last 24 hours
-Percent of positive tests- some days very close to 10%, some days under.
-Total hospital bed capacity= 8,917. We have 71% occupied with 2552 beds currently available.
-Total ICU bed capacity= 970. Currently there are 222 available.
-There are surge plans to increase beds if needed. The most difficult thing to address is ventilators. Almost 2/3 capacity of ventilators.
-188 have tested positive at the Benton County Jail.
-Active cases- 2% reported going to restaurants in the last 14 days, 0.4% barbershop, 2% church, 0.2% gym, 0.4% hotel or motel.
-There is room in NWA hospitals, but it is tight.
-More people who wear the mask will reduce the chance of submission.

June 19, 2020 2:32 PM

Governor Hutchinson COVID-19 6/19/2020 Press Conference

-Unemployment rate has declines in May. State numbers went down 1.3% in May with 9.5% unemployment rate. There are 46,378 employed in the month of May. National rate is 13.3%

-Payments for emergency medical service workers:

-CARES Act Steering Committee approved $12,127,200 for EMS Direct Care Worker Payments

-Funds will be distributed to the employers who will then pass payments along to employees. April 5- May 31. $125 per week if part time 20-39 hours, 40+ hours $250 per week.

-Yesterday 13,928 + 703 cases up to 14,631 (41 in correctional facilities)

-Largest growth of community cases we’ve seen in Arkansas.

-Washington 136, Benton 112, Pulaski 53, Sevier 44

-Up 5 t 231 hospitalizations

-Up 6 to 214 deaths

-Conducted 5,167 tests

-Overall positivity rate is 6.5% since we started the pandemic.

-Yesterday’s positivity rate is 13.6%

-Face coverings- issuing new guidance in issuing to face coverings.

Should be worn in all indoor settings where you are exposed to non-household members and physical distancing of 6 feet or more cannot be assured.

Should be worn at all outdoor settings where you are exposed to non-household members, unless there is space (6 feet or more) to practice social distancing.

Cloth face coverings have been shown to be sufficient for the general public and effective in preventing transmission.

Face coverings should cover both the mouth and nose to be effective.

-Same guidance we give to houses of worship. Best practices, but not a directive and does not carry a civil penalty.

-Dr. Nate Smith- The mask I wear protects you, the mask you wear protects me. The masks we all wear protect each other.

-There is a list of 25 houses of worship that have at least one positive case.

-Continue to stress not going to large events, wearing masks and social distancing over the weekends as well.

-CDC team is continuing to work in NWA. They are mapping transmission networks. Deeper level of analysis for contact tracing. Plan to be in NWA for another 2 weeks.

June 18, 2020 2:40 PM

Governor Hutchinson COVID-19 6/18/2020 Press Conference from Ft. Smith
-Yesterday 13,606 cumulative cases, added 322 cases 13,928
-Of the 322 cases- Washington 46, Benton 33, Pulaski 23, rest were fewer than 20 cases.
-Up 9 to 226 hospitalization
-Up 11 to 208 total deaths, 10 were 65+ age group
-Reminder to young people- while we might survive, think about those who you might expose and their vulnerability
-6,554 tests
-Number of active cases- 4,344
-142 in nursing home, 644 correctional facilities, 3,558 are community active cases
-Hospitalizations rising. This is a concern and something we are watching very closely.
-Positivity rate- still well below 10%
-NW Region: seven day rolling average- hopefully trend will continue to go down.
-Public Health emergency that ends tomorrow will be extended another 45 days.
-Read paragraph 5- specifically talking about Governor having the sole authority in orders of commerce during the health emergency (referring to city ordinances requiring masks).
-Reiterated wearing a mask when you cannot socially distance.
-If the majority of Arkansas wore face coverings, we could greatly reduce the transmission of the virus. Basic things like washing hands, staying home if unnecessary to go out
-Face coverings- are worn to keep ourselves from spreading the virus to others. People are spreading this virus to others when they are asymptomatic. It is to protect our fellow citizens.
-If you are attending the Trump rally- be sure to get a test taken if people are not wearing masks or socially distancing.
-Spoke about UAMS projections- “medium case is 130,000 active cases in September”. But Governor said that is was only a mathematical projection if we did nothing to prevent the spread.
-Governor- masks are public health issue, not a political issue. People in Arkansas- our goal is not to punish people if they are not doing what they are supposed to, but to educate

June 17, 2020 2:16 PM

Governor Hutchinson COVID-19 6/17/2020 Press Conference
-Yesterday 13,191 case, up 415 cases to 13,606
-35 in correction facilities- 380 community cases
-4,413 active cases- 3,590 active community cases
-Up 3 to 217 hospitalizations
-Up 6 to 197 deaths
-8,996 recovered, increase of 331
-7,514 tests done in the last 24 hours
-Major Cases by County: Washington 90, Benton 81, Lee 24, Pulaski 21
-7 day rolling average of percent positive tests in Arkansas- still well under 10% positivity rate.
-Cumulative testing in June- 80,105
-Announcement: we will be able to reengage visitation in long term care facilities effective July 1. Will apply to those facilities that have completed testing and meet the criteria outlines in the guidance from ADH. Visits will be scheduled in advance and space will be sanitized between each visit.
-CDC team in NWA- very active in their work. Beginning outreach to Latinx community. Doing a deeper analysis of data.
-350 Disease Intervention Specialists that are employed by Arkansas Department of Health. This includes those doing the contact tracing.

June 16, 2020 2:28 PM

Governor Hutchinson 6/16/2020 COVID-19 Press Conference

-12,917 cases yesterday, additional 274 today to 13,191

-Up 8 hospitalizations to 214

-Up 6 deaths to 188- 134 of the 188 is the 65+ age group

-4,175 tests done yesterday

-Since March 11- tested 208,000 tests (we have tested more than 6% of the Arkansas population)

-June nursing home testing- completed 13,000 of nursing home residents of staff. 133 positives, with a 0.9% positivity rate. 250 facilities still need testing.

-Working on a plan to open long term care/ nursing home visits

-Leveling off in the unemployment numbers. High of 122k to 106k. Additional 32k receiving pandemic employment assistance.

-3 requirements were waived- week long waiting period, filing in person and search for work requirement. At the end of this quarter (end of June) we will reinstate the search for work requirement.

-More than 10% positivity rate in NWA. Benton and Washington County show the community spread and that people need to be disciplined in social distancing and wearing masks in public. However, the Governor will not roll back Phase 2 restrictions. The State will continue to implement the targeted response- might have to place restrictions on venues or geographic region.

June 15, 2020 2:28 PM

Governor Hutchinson COVID-19 Press Conference

“We are at an important time in terms of this pandemic. We obviously have a significant increase in cases in NWA and we have a temptation to let down our guard because we’ve been dealing with it for a long time. I hope that everyone knows that we are taking it seriously and our admonition continues to be to implement our strategy which is to protect ourselves and others by social distancing and wearing a mask while out in public; and that's very, very important for us.
And I want to applaud the businesses. They need to comply with this. In terms of restaurants that are doing a good job, but there’s a few outliers that we want to see make sure they comply. And I expect over the next week that the cases will continue to go up. That’s every expectation that I have and I don’t believe that we’ve reached this second peak, which very well could be our first peak, and so we need to take this continued seriously and make sure we do everything we can to live but at the same time to control the spread of this virus.”

-Walmart donated 7000 masks to NWA and different coalitions to reach those who need the masks.
-Executive Order for liability immunity for business and healthcare community- this is not a time for a special session. Businesses must make an effort to comply with CDC guidelines in order to gain the immunity.
-3 different executive orders” workman’s comp, healthcare providers liability immunity, business liability- effective today throughout the whole health emergency.

-Yesterday 12501, added 416 cases, to 12,917 cases in Arkansas
-4,383 active cases
-8,352 recovered
-Up 5 hospitalizations to 206 net hospitalizations.
-Up 3 deaths to 182
-Over 7,063 tests conducted in last 24 hours
-Positivity rate- less than 5%
-68,069 tested so far in June. 120,000 tests is the June goal.
-Of the new cases- 126 Washington County, 53 in Benton, Pope 25, Sevier County 20.
-416- 26 from correctional facilities, 390 community
-No linkage to businesses and cases like gyms, restaurants, beauty salons, etc.
-New cases of COVID-19 in Benton County.

June 12, 2020 2:10 PM

Governor Hutchinson COVID-19 6/12/2020 Press Conference
-Yesterday had 10,860; up 731 cases in 24 hours to 11,547 cases
-3,764 active cases
-Up 16 hospitalizations to 203
-5 new deaths to 176 deaths
-731 new cases- 207 in correctional facilities, 524 community cases
-1/3 of the 524 community cases come from Tyson
-144 in nursing homes, 402 correction, 3218 in community
-207- East Arkansas Regional Unit had the largest number of cases in correctional facility
-7,607 recovered, 66% of cases
-Washington with 220 new cases, Benton with 91 new cases, Madison with 32 new cases
-Testing- did 5,591 tests
-Tested to date 182645, at 43% of goal for June (120k tests)
-Positivity rate of 7.1% which could be adjusted upward
-Cumulative positivity rate is 6.2%
-Tyson tested over 1,100 team members in Springdale. Of the 1,102 team members tested, 199 were positive. Only 1 out of 199 were symptomatic.
-Governor Hutchinson asked everyone to use face coverings to protect others. He called it a common courtesy.
-Urged people to continue to socially distance and do frequent hand washing.
-Because of the need in contact tracing- Gov has authorized 20 National Guard members to immediately be brought in on active duty to help with contact tracing.
-Have an RFQ out for a contract to do contact tracing
-Expects the cases to increase
-Masking is very important in controlling the spread of COVID
-There are surge plans in NWA hospitals as needed.
-There will not be a requirement for all residents to wear a mask in public. But it is strongly recommended.
-Very high percentage of individuals that do not have symptoms and that can pass the virus along.

June 11, 2020 2:38 PM

Governor Hutchinson COVID-19 6/11/2020 Press Conference
-Yesterday 10,368, additional 448 to 10,816 cases cumulative
-448- 4 in corrections, 444 community cases
-3,294 are active cases- 140 nursing homes, 199 in corrections, 2,955 active community cases
-Up 6 to 187 hospitalizations, hospital capacity in NWA is sufficient according to the Governor
-Up 6 deaths to 171
-Tested 4,914 yesterday
-Top counties- Washington- 143, Benton-78, Pulaski- 37, other counties less than 20
-93% of cases in Washington County in Springdale, many from the Latinx community.
-Highest number of community cases in a 24-hour period.
-Positivity rate is less than 5%, but will likely change and be updated to a higher positivity rate
-Cumulative total of 45,063 tests in June
-7,351 who have recovered
-Highly contagious in household clustering, neighborhood and community clustering and some workplace clustering.
-A CDC team is coming into study and gain insight about the NWA case numbers and rise.
-Plans are to go back to school in the regular classroom fashion, supplemented by online learning as needed.
-Deputy Director of Education- Dr. Ivy Pfeffer:
-Arkansas Ready for Learning-
A plan to return to onsite instruction in August that allows flexibility for learning options in case interruptions occur.
Support for districts to prepare for the start of the new school year.
An opportunity for teacher, parents, students, and the community to engage in the planning with school districts.
-This plan is a work in progress between the Department of Education and the Department of Health
-Encourage local districts to have plans for their community
-Districts are preparing for each system of school operations.
-We acknowledge there are still many unanswered questions.
-Know that students can learn anytime, anywhere as long as the proper support is provided.
-Governor Hutchinson responded to a question regarding Washington Regional’s letter about the being a public health crisis and that we are not having more cases because of increased testing, but because there are more cases. He thinks it is a good message.
-Even though we are opening up our economy does not diminish the reality of this virus.
-We are counting on people to make good decisions. If they don’t there will be consequences.
-We have to learn to manage the risk of this virus. Living and working but being careful with it.

June 10, 2020 2:24 PM

Governor Hutchinson announced at today's COVID-19 press conference that Arkansas will move to Phase 2 Monday, June 15. However, he states that we are "not out of the woods" and that people need to continue to do what they can to keep the transmission of the virus down by social distancing and wearing masks.

Governor Hutchinson COVID-19 Press Conference 6/10/2020
-Case report: yesterday 10,080- increase of 288 cases to 10,368.
-Of the new 288 cases: 60 in correctional facilities, 228 community cases
-3,087 active cases in the State- 2750 active community cases
-Up 8 to 181 hospitalizations
-165 deaths, up 4
-7,116 recovered
-Of the 288 cases- Pulaski County (51), Washington County (44), Benton County (37)
-4,420 tests yesterday. 37907 so far to date in June.
-Top counties with the highest active community cases.
Sevier County - 174 active cases; total population- 17,193
Yell County- 94; total population- 21,573
Washington County - 708 active cases; total population- 228,529
Benton County- 535 active cases; total population- 258,980

-Status of Phase 2:
-Reflecting: Arkansas from the beginning took a different path and did not shelter in place but did put some restrictions in place. On May 4, some restrictions started lifting to move into Phase I.
-Now all retail and businesses are open, with some restrictions on masks, spacing and capacity
-Growth rate is not tied to the lifting of restrictions because public health guidelines are being followed.
-Gating criteria is based on “one peak” vs. multiple smaller spikes that we have had.
-State is best served moving together, even though we are having some spikes.
-We are moving into Phase 2, but we are not out of the woods. Effective next Monday.
-Continuing emergency order that expires in mid-June for 45 days.
-Keep social distancing and wearing masks.
-Will be able to move to 2/3 capacity.
-Benton and Washington County- will provide additional support. More testing, tracing and public health support to those areas.
-Increased compliance inspections through the Health Department for NWA. CDC will send specialty team with bilingual staff to work with the Latinx communities.
-New directives will be given: gyms, restaurants, salons- everything that had a limitation on capacity can be moved from 1/3 to 2/3 as long as they can maintain the 6-foot social distancing.
-Question from a reporter: Are we seeing if this virus isn’t as communicable? Dr. Smith responded with, “it's highly communicable in certain settings. Rapid increase in congregate settings. But if we do the things we can to mitigate the virus with social distancing and wearing of masks. “
-Schools- work in progress. Building a blended teaching environment with in-school and on-line learning. Secretary Key and Secretary Smith are working on it. Everyone is planning on being open.

June 9, 2020 1:58 PM

Governor Hutchinson COVID-19 6/9/2020 Press Conference
-9,740 cases yesterday, today added 340 cases for a total of 10,080 cases
-340 cases- 34 in correctional facilities, 306 community cases
-3,044 active cases- 141 in nursing home, 139 in correctional, 2764 active cases in community
-6,875 recovered
-Up to 488 cases in nursing homes, 332 nursing home staff
-Up 2 to 173 hospitalizations
-Up 6 deaths to 161
-Testing: yesterday did 4849 tests. On target to reach 120,000 tests in June
-Per capita 565 tests per 10,000
-Positivity rate in Arkansas- (don’t want to get above 10% according to CDC), positivity rate is 7%
-28,862 cumulative tests in June
-Will be making an announcement tomorrow about Phase 2

June 8, 2020 2:22 PM

Governor Hutchinson COVID-19 6/8/2020 Press Conference
-Announcements: Governor Hutchinson confirmed that he has put the national guard back on “normal status”, in other words they have been deactivated
-Gov Hutchinson mentioned he’s had good meetings with some protest leaders and today an Executive Order will be ready in reference to a task force that deals with police training, certifications and standards
-Cases: (314 new cases in the last 24 hours for a total of 9,470 cases. (Saturday increase if 450, Sunday, 335)
-Of the new cases- 13 in correctional facilities, 301 in the community
-2,955 active cases- 2,710 active community cases
-6,630 who have recovered
-Hospitalizations went from 145 to 171- a new high point for hospitalizations
-Deaths up to 155, up one
-4,131 tests in the last 24 hours- 28,862 to date in June.
-In the last 24 hours- Washington County 86, Benton County 45 new cases
-Highest number of active cases to date- up to nearly 3,000 active cases
-4.5% positivity rate in the last 24 hours
Regions of the State are all at different stages of the epidemic and their =trendlines are different
The future spread in not predictable
Data shows that the cases are not related to the lifting of restrictions
Increased testing helps pinpoint on where the challenges are and how we address new cases
Self-discipline and social discipline need to be exercised regardless of the cases numbers
The economy must keep moving and creating jobs and provide an opportunity to support their families and make a living
-Active cases- only 2% reported having visited a restaurant in the last 14 days, less than 1% barber shop, 1% church, 0.3% gym
-Steuart Walton- Chairman of Economic Recovery Task Force
-Campaign- “Good for you, good for Arkansas”.
-‘Arkansas Ready For Business’ site has all the Spanish translation materials

June 4, 2020 2:45 PM

Governor Hutchinson COVID-19 6/4/2020 Press Conference
-Yesterday 8,067, additional 358 to 8,425 cases (only 2 from correctional facilities)
-Deaths increased by 9 to 151
-Hospitalizations down to 137
-Predominance in NWA with Washington County 111, Benton County 92 new cases
-4350 tests- 5.2% positivity rate
-2,355 active cases- 2217 active cases in the community
-5,919 have recovered
-234 new cases in the Northwest Region, which is 65.4% of total new cases
-Huge spike in cases in NWA
-White House gating criteria for reopening: State and local officials may need to tailor the application of these criteria to local circumstance
-Phase Two: For states and regions with no evidence of a rebound and that satisfy the gating criteria a second time
-Of new cases, approximately 50% of new cases have Spanish last names
-12,199 tests so far this month. On track for June goal.

June 2, 2020 2:26 PM

Governor Hutchinson COVID-19 6/2/2020 Press Conference
-State Revenue Report: May- up $80 million over the revised forecast
-May 3.4% below state revenue compared to last year.
-7,443 cases, up 375 cases to 7,818
-Highest number of community cases- 374, 1 in correctional facility
-2,115 active cases- 1,989 active cases in the community. #1 county with new cases is Benton County with 65 new cases
-5,567 recovered
-121 hospitalizations, 11 new to 132 (now at the highest number of hospitalizations)
-133 deaths yesterday, up 3 to 136
-Cases are a result of additional testing- 3,807 tests
-Positivity rate of 4.4% rate yesterday
-Testing for June- all nursing home resident and staff person; approximately 50,000
-June’s goal is 120,000 tests
-90% of new cases in Benton County were Latinx
-Latinx outreach group has 28 members- to communicate the significance of the COVID-19 virus in the Latinx community.
-How are protests affecting COVID-19? Large crowds with no social distancing, but majority are wearing masks.
-Contact tracing would be very difficult if someone at a protest had a positive protest
-Governor has not made a request for the national guard
-In terms of last night and ongoing protests we have across the Arkansas and across the nation- there were those who turned violent and turned to destruction of property and ASP arrested 5 Arkansas residents. Arkansas State Police will be out again tonight and will make arrests to looters and those not peacefully protesting.
-Phase Two of reopening is on pause. Not appropriate until we have more data and more confidence. Opening up will be Statewide, so if one area has an increase it will affect the rest of the State. What might be a low caseload today might change quickly.
-Of the 136 deaths, 5 have been Latinx

June 1, 2020 2:18 PM

Governor Hutchinson COVID-19 6/1/2020 Press Conference
Yesterday 7,253 cases; increase of 190 cases to 7,443 cases (187 community cases)
1,909 active cases: 78 in nursing homes, 53 correctional, 1,778 active community cases
5,401 who have recovered
Up to 121 hospitalizations, net increase of 6 from yesterday
133 deaths to date
3,798 tests in last 24 hours- 6% positivity rate
Tested 80,808 in May
Adding all nursing home residents and staff in June
Early peak in April, flattened out and the trend line in up- something we want to reverse
Northwest Region- new cases have spiked; reminder that each region has a different time frame and realize that we are not passed the virus.
45 hospitalizations in NWA.
Tyson will test every worker in the plants, Simmons has health centers to help maintain the health of workers- testing all staff and applicants. Working hard to keep the supply chain moving.
1,749 tested positive in NWA, 5.8% positivity rate
281 tests for 10,000 compared to 442 tests for 10,000
Growing number of cases in the Latino community- 43% of cases in NWA were Latino
985 active cases in NWA
608 cases in Benton County- 5% positivity rate
28% of positive cases in the NW Region are poultry workers
571 total poultry workers who have been infected with COVID-19

May 29, 2020 2:32 PM

Governor Hutchinson COVID-19 Press Conference 5/29/2020
-6538 yesterday, today another 239 cases to 6777, 237 community cases
- 1699 active cases; 73 in nursing home, 144 in correctional, 1482 are community cases
- Recovered- 4946, increase of 363 from yesterday
- 53 new cases in Washington County, 38 in Benton County
- Hospitalizations are going up in Northwest Arkansas more than other regions of the state
-Of the 237 new community cases- 25 new cases in health care workers, 12 nursing home residents, -15 nursing home staff.
-Up 9 hospitalizations to 113- the highest we have had
-Up 7 deaths to 132
-About ½ of the cases were asymptomatic
-We have tested 4% of the population so far- 121,302 tests done to date
-Northwest Region- multiple days with high numbers of cases. 120 cases yesterday. Today nearly 80 cases. 7 day rolling average is going up.
-3 regions are on a downward trend, but Southwest and Northwest Arkansas are going up.
-Tracking lifting of restrictions and the new cases we have. We continue to do contact tracing. Not seeing a connectivity with the number of new cases and the lifting of restrictions
-2,702 tests done yesterday to over 70,000 for the month of May
-4.1% positivity percent, still less than half of what the national standard is.
-Number of active cases has increased in Arkansas. Higher than the first peak.
-Executive Order singed for technical advisory group
-Ask everyone to carefully social distance to protect others as well as yourself. Be cautious over the weekend.
-Reopening- tent camping June 1, bath houses opening June 1.

May 27, 2020 2:28 PM

Governor Hutchinson COVID-19 5/27/2020 Press Conference

-Case update: 6,180 cases yesterday, up 97 to 6,277 cases; 1,733 are active, 68 in nursing home, 466 in correctional facilities, 1,999 cases in community

-4424 who have recovered, an increase of 92 from yesterday

-Up 1 to 108 hospitalizations; up 1 death to 120

-4,033 tests with a 1.9% positivity rate in the last 24 hours

-117,076 tests to date

-Statewide increases by age group:

Age 0-17: May 17= 190 cases, May 23= 278 cases, 46.3% increase

Ages 18-24: May 17= 281 cases, May 23= 372 cases, 32.3% increase

Ages 25-44: May 17= 988 cases, May 23= 1249 cases, 26.4% increase

Ages 45-64: May 17= 947 cases, May 23= 1156 cases, 22.6% increase

Ages 65+: May 17- 655 cases, May 2= 759 cases, 15.8% increase

-Have done 66,299 tests in May

-Still well below the 10% national standard of positivity rates

-Has been an outbreak with poultry related

-Have not seen a correlation with new cases and opening up businesses including restaurants, barber shops, daycares, gyms, church services, etc.

-Continue to social distance, wear masks, frequent handwashing, staying away when you are sick

-Since the beginning 575 heath care workers have tested positive, 447 have recovered

-They are working on a plan for K-12 schools. Part of it is blended education- classroom and online instruction.

-Expect school to start in the regular fashion

-There is both a spike in cases and hospitalizations- but still have the capacity to treat those who need it. Seeing increased disease activities in our communities. It’s important to look at where the cases are occurring.

-Children 0-17 have to be looked at more closely because we are seeing a noted uptick in that population. Children are very much carriers for this disease.

-Convalescent plasma- plasma that has antibodies from someone who has recovered. We believe it is effective based on certain conditions.

May 26, 2020 2:30 PM

Governor Hutchinson COVID-19 5/26/2020 Press Conference

-6,029 yesterday, increase of 151 cases for a total 6,180
-1,729 are active cases, 72 in nursing homes, 466 correctional facilities, 1,191 community cases
-4,332 who have recovered
-Hospitalizations have gone up to 107 from 99.
-Deaths have increased to 119
-Tests- 2,984 yesterday with a 3.3% positivity rate
-Goal of 60k in May- over the holiday weekend we surpassed over 61,000 tests
-We need to continue to practice social distancing and being responsible in your daily tasks
-39.3% are 25-44; (largest single age group) 14.3% are 65+ and older
-Deaths: 31% of deaths in SE Arkansas, 30% in Central Arkansas, 19% in NE Arkansas, 11% SW Arkansas, 8.4% in NW Arkansas.
-29 cases in last 24 hours in Washington County, 16 in Benton County
-301 cases in the poultry industry
-Exceeded the goal of testing 2% of the population.

-Each of us need to do the following:
Wear masks
Maintaining 6 feet social distancing
Not having gatherings larger than 10
Continue to take precautions

-Why are we worried about a disease of 99% recover? Because there’s still 1% who don't recover. Think about how it may affect our loved one.
-1% of the population in Arkansas would be 30,000 deaths that is not acceptable.

-Pandemic Unemployment Assistant $16.8 million has been sent to 15,000 claimants. There are 10,000 more that are eligible.

-Arkansas Department of Health Change- Dr. Nate Smith has accepted a job with the CDC in Atlanta. He will continue his leadership in Arkansas through August 28.
-Dr. Jose Romero will serve as Interim Secretary of Health. Pediatric Infectious disease specialist. Also Chair of advisory committee on immunization practices.

-Whose jurisdiction is it if people are overcrowding on lakes. Depends on the governing party- could be Game and Fish or Corps of Engineers- however, these are guidelines. We are not asking local law enforcements to enforce the guidelines. We ask people to have conversations.

Question from journalist:
What you can do as Governor to de-politicize this disease?

Governor Hutchinson:
All I can do is set a good example; I've done that. And encourage people to put public health above any other consideration in terms of wearing a mask and socially distancing. This is not about politics, it’s not about a philosophy other than being a good neighbor and being a good citizen and doing the right thing. And that’s just the message that we have to understand in our hearts and try to communicate that because it’s the health of people and people that we care about.

Sometimes I think that people believe that if they don’t wear a mask, they are only endangering themselves, like not wearing a helmet on a motorcycle and that it’s an expression of freedom. And so we really have to drill into everyone and continue to educate that it’s not about your health, it’s also about your neighbor’s health and that’s why you wear a mask, is to protect others. And that is teamwork in Arkansas, and we want people to concentrate on that.

May 23, 2020 2:08 PM

Governor Hutchinson Daily COVID-19 Press Conference 5/23/2020

Yesterday 5,612 cases, today up 163 for a total of 5,775.

Of these new cases, 160 in the community and 3 in correctional facilities two counties are Benton County 23 and Washington 20 cases.

In Benton County most were in Rogers, some family clusters. Washington have been mostly in Springdale. Unknown if they are poultry plants.

1,564 Active cases- 88 in nursing homes, 509 in correctional, 967 in community

4,096 have recovered, 67 more than yesterday

3,195 tests in the last 24 hours

Increase of 5 hospitalizations to 86.

Additional 2 deaths up to 115.

We are on an uptick for the 7-day new case rolling average.

2nd highest reports of positive cases yesterday.

Currently hospitalized, on a small uptick as well, but more steady

How should we respond with a second peak?

Recognize testing levels help us find more cases. That allows our contact tracing to be quicker and more responsive. Expanded testing means we have improved our “early radar”. 3,195 tests in the last 24 hours

Keep an eye on the hospitalization. Our main fear was that we wouldn’t have enough hospital beds that would need care. We are still in good shape now. If cases go up, but hospitalizations have less of an increase, means we are identifying those who are positive but not very ill and not require hospitalizations.

Positivity rate- we are still below the 10% benchmark. It is around the 5% level. Last 24 hours was 3.5%

Watch the deaths. While it is incredibly sad, per capita, Arkansas has one of the lowest death rates in the country

We need to be disciplined in your personal safety habits. It means there are more people out there who have the virus and it can still spread.


Pandemic unemployment assistance

Increase of money flowing out

12,930 claimants

Creating the Governor’s Technical Advisory Board- will look at new technologies

Dr. Austin Porter, III chairing the Technical Advisory Board.

Apps for contact tracing, help us manage and build the infrastructure that we will need for the fall.

A number of technologies are available, looking into how we can utilize the contact tracing.


54866 tests done in May. Will exceed the goal of 60k tests in May.

Total tests to date= 105,628.

Doing targeting testing in communities. Today we are in Springdale, next week Dardanelle. Then W. Memphis, Pine Bluff, and De Queen, Jonesboro, Wrightsville, El Dorado

May 22, 2020 2:09 PM

Governor Hutchinson Daily COVID-19 Press Conference 5/22/2020

April national unemployment rate 14.7%; Arkansas at 10.2%

102k Arkansans are unemployed compared to 2 months ago

7,105 claims have been paid another 3,000 more will have funds sent out tonight. PUA website.

5,458 cases yesterday, today we have an additional 154 cases, of those 135 are in the community. Total cases 5,612. 19 were from correctional facilities

1,470 active cases. 4,029 have recovered. Increase of 114 from yesterday

86 in nursing homes, 510 correction 874 are active community cases.

Hospitalizations have gone down 5 to 81.

Up 3 deaths to 113 deaths in Arkansas.

Today is the second highest amount of cases

Have tested 51,275 in May

622 cases to date at FCI in Forrest City

2,909 tests yesterday with positivity rate if 4.4%

102,041 have been tested to date

22 new cases in Benton County.

Updating directive for elective surgery. Will go into effect Monday, May 25. Testing still required within 72 hours.

May 21, 2020 2:55 PM

Governor Hutchinson COVID-19 Press Conference 5/21/2020
5,003 cases yesterday, today increase of 455, for a total of 5,458 cases
1,433 are active cases
3,915 recovered, an increase of 63
455 new cases- 229 are from correctional facilities, 226 community cases
Reflection of increased testing- spread out through many parts on the state (27 new cases in Benton County) Definitely a concern, but it needs to be put in context and perspective. We will be using active contact tracing to determine risk factors and determine if there are outbreaks and community spread.
Largest single day increase since reporting began
Of the active cases: 543 are correction, 94 nursing homes, 796 are community cases
86 hospitalized
110 deaths, up 3
Tested 2,616 in the last 24 hours, keeps us on target to do 60k tests
4.4% positivity rate

7 day rolling average- going up. Yes, this is a concern, but also a reflection of increased testing
There has been a huge decrease in blood donations, this poses a large challenge to those who need blood for medical procedures. If you are a regular donor, please go donate now. If not, please consider donating.
Continue to check the Arkansas Department of Health website for updated case numbers per county:

Overnight summer camps – very complicated, please refer specifically to the directive. Will be completed and up on the website by the end of the day.

Looking at apps to help with data tracking and contact tracing and continue to “beef up” this section of the ADH.

Cases in children:
Fortunately, children are less likely to get severe complications, but there are some complications that can occur among children.
Dr. Jose Romero- UAMS and Children's Hospital Chief of Children's Infectious Diseases, Chair of CDC on Immunization Practices.
Multi organ inflammatory syndrome- severe inflammatory disease that follows the infection- as of now we have not had any cases in Arkansas.
Approximately 200 cases of the multi system inflammatory syndrome reported so far across the country. There is treatment for this. This mimics the kawasaki disease and treatment is similar.

Team Sports Directive- Effective June 1
Applies to team sports for K-12, not for intercollegiate sports
Will revisit close-contact sports June 30
Ticket sales online if possible
Team practice, competition prohibited for closed contact sports like basketball, wrestling, football, volleyball, soccer, martial arts
Individual practice with own equipment permitted
Conditioning/training OK with limited group size, distancing
Cheerleading and dance may practice under gym directive restrictions
Practice, competition allowed for limited-contact team sports like baseball, softball, track, gymnastics, swimming
Physical distancing whenever possible
Use own equipment/disinfect any that is shared
Participation discouraged if 65+ or have health issues
Physical distancing except during active sports activity
Athletes, coaches, staff asked about fever, symptoms, exposure
Face coverings for everyone 10 or older
Athletes can remove during active sports activity
Coaches, staff must wear at all times
Showers prohibited; locker rooms only used for storage
Frequent sanitizing of equipment, facilities
Avoid huddles, high fives, any other non-sport related contact
Directive for gyms applies to training facilities
Directive for venues, dining applies to athletic event facilities
If athletes are training in a gym- they need to follow the directive of gyms
If outside certainly the number can be quite a bit more
Spectators will follow for large outdoor venues.

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance:
Website is now secured and is operational.
As of noon today, 15,000 claimants have been emailed to say they can go online to enter weekly claim.
Thousands of claims were processed and claimants will receive monetary assistance shortly.

Steuart Walton- Chairman, Arkansas Economic Recovery Task Force:
Proud of businesses for taking precautions and serving our residents in novel and new ways
Arkansas Ready for Business website- please look to for guidelines. Check this site regularly for updates.

Overnight Summer Camps- Effective May 31 directive will be on the website at the end of the day

Schools- the CDC gives a lot of things to consider. Will talk to secretary Key, we have plans to open and we look to incorporate as many guidelines as possible.

People refusing to wear face masks in dine in restaurants-
Governor Hutchinson's response:
[sic] “Patrons need to understand that they need to wear masks until they are served. These businesses are doing what they need to do to protect their own health as well as the patrons. Whenever somebody comes in without wearing a mask, it’s not then about your health, as much it is about everybody else health around, and so it’s a very selfish act to say we’re not going to abide by those guidelines that are meant to protect you and others. So I hope that there’s a lot of patience, but primarily it’s your decision, if you don’t want to go in there and dine that’s OK, that’s you’re decision, but don’t blame it on the owner of the restaurant or the waitstaff there”.

Steuart Walton response:
[sic] “It’s something that you do for other people, it’s not something you do for yourself, and when you start to think about it in that light, it maybe brings a little more emotion to it. The virus is real and it’s really important that we continue to reduce cases and case numbers in the state because as people see these numbers grow, confidence is going to go the opposite direction and wearing a mask or face covering is just imperative in places where it's impossible to socially distance and a restaurant happens to be one of those , I would encourage restaurant owners to be brave and request folks who come in to wear a mask, and as a patron of a restaurant show up with a mask”.

May 19, 2020 2:18 PM

Governor Hutchinson COVID-19 Press Conference
-4,813 cases yesterday, up 110 to 4,923- 4 in correctional, 106 community
-1,082 are active case, 86 in nursing home, 369 correctional, 630 in community
-Total of 1,082 active cases- only 3 had reported being to a restaurant, 6 to a barber shop, 4 to a gym, 10 to a church
-3,709 who have recovered
-77 hospitalization, up 1 to 78
-Additional 2 deaths, up to 102
-Yesterday was the second highest day of new cases in the community since the beginning of the pandemic.
-39,700 tests done to date in May
-3,014 tests done May 18, positivity rate of 1.5% yesterday
-3 counties with more than 10 new cases yesterday- Pulaski, Sevier and St. Francis
-Looking to the future of nursing home care: beginning June 1- goal to test every nursing home resident and staff in every nursing home in Arkansas. Will be 40-50k tests.
-Nursing home facilities working with ADH to reduce the spread of COVID-19. - 325 patients who have tested positive, 189 nursing home staff who positive
-FCI in Forrest City by CDC- getting results back, 585 inmates and 17 staff tested positive
-Data breach on the PUA unemployment site- they are working toward securing the system and working to get payments processed.

May 18, 2020 2:10 PM

Governor Hutchinson COVID-19 Press Conference
-On Sunday had 4,759 total cases, added 54 cases to a total of 4,813
-1068 active cases- 378 in correctional institutions, 99 in nursing homes 591 in community.
-3,645 recovered, increase of 55 since yesterday.
-2,329 tests in the last 24 hours, 2.8% positivity
-Increase of 12 for hospitalization to 77.
-Deaths increased by 2 to 100
-54 new cases since yesterday, 53 from community
-Had 4,578 cases Saturday, added 181 cases Sunday. 131 in correctional facilities, 50 in the community
-550 tests in Forrest City done Saturday. Most extensive testing done in any community since pandemic began. Have not received all results, did get 290 results- 24 were positive.

-Bars that are associated and in restaurant facilities can be open effective May 19.
-Free standing bars- still giving a little more time for proper safety precautions- will be able to open Tuesday, May 26.

May 15, 2020 2:25 PM

Governor Hutchinson Daily COVID-19 Update
-After Monday, May 18, all retail stores in Arkansas are open for business except bars.
-4,366 yesterday, 97 new cases to 4,463 cases
-97- 79 in community, 18 are from correctional facilities (11 in Jefferson, 10 in Crittenden, 9 in Polk, 7 Pulaski County)
-3,390 recovered, an increase of 50 from yesterday Decrease of 4- to 65 hospitalizations
-975 active cases- 322 in correctional, 102 nursing homes, 551 in community
-7 day rolling average- is flattening out again
-Testing- goal of 60,000 tests in May
-www.AR.Gov/COVID for closest testing facilities
-We have done 29,389 tests so far in May
-All local open health units will have testing for COVID-19 beginning Monday
-Tourism is 2nd leading business is Arkansas
-Today is the reopening day for state lodges and cabins
-Expect to stay in Phase 1 until we are confident that we will not have a resurgence.

May 14, 2020 2:20 PM

Governor Hutchinson showed an infographic of how contact tracing works during his daily COVID-19 press conference.
-Cases yesterday 4,236 up 130 cases, to 4,366 cases (17 in correctional facility, 113 community)
-928 active cases- 305 in correctional, 101 nursing homes, 522 in community
-3,340 who have recovered, up 63
-51 nursing homes with one or more cases, 179 staff have tested positive
-Increase of 5 hospitalizations to 69
-Up to 98 deaths, up 9
-1,991 tests, 2.6% positivity rate
-Trending up a bit with number of cases. As you increase testing, the case numbers will go up.
-Active cases have also gone up
-Walmart has increased testing sites in Ark- W Memphis, Jonesboro, Hot Springs and Texarkana. Was already in Bentonville, Ft. Smith and Little Rock.
-Case tracking system- works in combination with the testing.
-Looked into the 64 new cases from last Saturday (May 8). Going through the contact tracing for each case for that day. Gives us a good idea of exactly where they are in Arkansas- if it’s a small exposure or a sign of a potential outbreak.
-Need everyone to be responsive to the Department of Health and be cooperative if they call.
-778 Million in the trust fund for unemployment
-Have paid out $357.9 million through unemployment assistance program.
-Serologic testing not recommended by the CDC to be used for clinical purposes at this time because there are false negatives and occasionally false positives. We will be using those to as part of a seroprevalence study to see how many have tested positive in the community. It is difficult to interpret for individuals.

May 13, 2020 2:50 PM

Governor Hutchinson Daily COVID-19 Press Conference

-4,164 cases yesterday, additional 72 today to 4,236 cases (only 1 in correctional facility)

-862 active cases- 295 in correctional facilities, 90 in nursing homes, 477 in the community

-3,277 recovered, an increase of 57

-64 hospitalization, up 5

-Up 2 deaths to 97

-Active cases: from the chart- 10-29 active cases in Benton County, 10-29 active cases in Washington County

-Testing- goal to have 60,000 tests done in the month of May

-(On 5/12) 23,949 tests to date in May.

-Since March 11 – done 73,215 tests

-Testing is our radar system- gives us an early warning of a potential outbreak

-We have to work through the potential of COVID-19 for the next year until there is a vaccine

-15.9% of cases over 65, but represent 71.6% of deaths

-Over 200 contact tracing, goal of reaching 350.

May 12, 2020 2:33 PM

Governor Hutchinson Daily COVID-19 Press Conference 5/12/2020
-Case updates:
-Yesterday 4,043 cases up 121 cases to 4,164 cases
-Active cases 849
-3,220 recovered
-121 new cases: 100 are community (27 of the 100 are in St. Francis County- where the Federal Correctional Institution is located) 21 in correctional facilities
-Down 2 to 59 hospitalizations
-95 deaths, up one
-1,753 tests- want to increase numbers
-Hospitalizations continue to go down, but we expect an upward tick with increased cases
-Cummins- 900 inmates, 60 staff
No new report at FCI in Forrest City
-Will look at making a decision about bars restrictions on May 18
-Summer camps and team sports- will make an announcement on May 20
-Dr. Fauci said, “My concern is that we will start to see little spikes that will turn into outbreaks”.
-We continue to follow CDC guidelines and are working hard to make sure these little spikes do not become outbreaks or a resurgence
-Arkansas received a quantity of the new drug Remdesivir drug and will be distributed by the Arkansas Department of Health. Have enough for 50 patients.

May 11, 2020 2:38 PM

Governor Hutchinson Daily COVID-19 Press Conference 5/11/2020
-Governor Hutchinson broadcast the press conference from El Dorado, AR.
-Saturday 3,984, now 4,048 cases, 59 new cases over the weekend.
-803 active cases, - 278 of those in correctional facilities, 86 nursing homes, 439 in the community.
-3,149 who have recovered.
-61 hospitalized, 11 on a ventilator.
-Up to 94 deaths.
-49 nursing homes with cases.
-Positivity rate remains very low.
-7 day rolling average- downward trend, small uptick, and now back in the right direction.
-Cummins- 9 hospitalized, 1 on ventilator and 7 deaths
-Federal Correction Institute in Forrest City- total of 332 cases in inmates and up to 16 in staff

Department of Commerce-
-Unemployment insurance checks- over 100,000 this week
-Pandemic Unemployment Assistance System= 23,000 file claims via the – hoping to file those checks in the next few weeks. where you can process that information if you are self-employed, contractor, etc.
-Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation System now up and running for those who had been out of work prior to the pandemic hitting

Need to continue to socially distance and wear masks.

-Baseball, soccer are considered team sports; that announcement will be late May
-There are individual practice opportunities if you maintain social distancing and comply with the guidelines, but not yet approved for team sport.

May 9, 2020 1:53 PM

Governor Hutchinson Daily COVID-19 Press Conference 5/9/2020
-It is important to remember that we are still dealing with the pandemic. Governor Hutchinson encouraged everyone to wear masks and socially distance.
-3,747 yesterday, up 237 new cases up to 3,984
-Active cases 837, of those 275 in correctional facilities, 88 in nursing homes 474 in the community
-3,057 recovered cases
-173 in correctional facilities, 64 community cases
-64 hospitalizations- same as yesterday
-Up 2 deaths to 90
-1,922 tests completed yesterday
-7 day rolling average- parked around April 25 uptick today
-Hospitalizations- peak April 24, on a decline now
-92,000 unemployment checks went out in Arkansas this week

The Arkansas Department of Health has made modifications to some directives- Large Indoor Venue and Large Outdoor Venues
Currently outdoor- limited to 50, on the 18 will allow up to 1/3 capacity, if that’s over 50 then 1/3 will require a plan to be approved by the Department of Health

May 8, 2020 3:34 PM

Governor Hutchinson Daily COVID-19 Press Conference 5/8/2020

***Please note- City of Siloam Springs staff is working on a plan to reopen the Family Aquatic Center and the water feature at Memorial Park. While the pool normally opens the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend, we will not be open at that time. We will update the public once a plan and timeline for opening is complete. ***

- 3,665 yesterday, up 82 to 3,747 cases
-12 new cases were in correctional facilities, 70 are community cases
-691 are active, 131 in correctional facilities and 89 in nursing homes, 471 active “community cases”
-2968 who have recovered
-Hospitalizations have decline from 70 to 64
-Deaths at 88 have remained the same
-2355 tested in the last 24 hours
-7 day rolling average has had a slight uptick, but still on a downward slide
-Active cases- on the decline from the peak around April 27
-Positivity remains under 5%
-Goal of testing 60,000 in May, which equates to 2% of the population

-Pools, splash pads, water parks and swim beaches effective May 22
-***Please note- City of Siloam Springs staff is working on a plan to reopen the Family Aquatic Center and the water feature at Memorial Park. While the pool normally opens the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend, we will not be open at that time. We will update the public once a plan and timeline for opening is complete. ***
-No entry if fever, symptoms or contact with positive patient
-50% capacity
-6-foot physical distancing in all areas
-If needed, fewer entrances so overcrowding can be controlled
-Markings to note distancing at slides, diving boards, anywhere with line
-Disinfect high touch areas frequently
-Tables, chairs moved 6 feet apart, family groups can sit together
-Maintain pool chemistry with twice daily pH testing
-Lifeguard training can begin today

-On Monday, May 11. State will be going to the next stage of elective surgeries. Included are overnight stays up to 48 hours

-Arkansas Ready for Business website
-Steuart Walton chairman
-Industry specific and institution specific information to reopen the economy and business
-Still are in Phase One. Please continue to wear masks and socially distance.

May 7, 2020 2:07 PM

Governor Hutchinson Daily Press COVID-19 Press Conference 5/7/2020

-First time Governor Hutchinson’s been out of Little Rock in the last 50 days. Reporting from Texarkana
-Yesterday 3,568 cases, today up 97 to 3,665 cases
-30 were correction facility related, the other 67 are community cases
-710 active cases; 2,867 have recovered
-Up 1 to 70 hospitalizations
-Up 3 deaths to 88
-Continuing to test COVID cases. Have gone up from about 1,000 to 1,500 daily tests. Yesterday announced a goal to test 60,000 cases in State of Arkansas. Yesterday tested 2,174 (highest test numbers yet)
-Positivity rate is still low
-Last two days have had an uptick of positive cases. Still a low daily number.

-In Phase 1 of Reopening. Need to not have a resurgence in order to move to Phase II.

-May 18- working to provide new guidance for casinos to renew limited operations at 1/3 capacity. Dr. Smith will be releasing the guidance.

-Decision on recreational team sports in late May

May 6, 2020 2:12 PM

Governor Hutchinson Daily COVID-19 Press Conference 5/6/2020

-3,496 yesterday, additional 72 cases for a total of 3,568 cases
-20 new cases from correctional facilities, 52 community cases
-1,374 are active cases, 2109 recovered
-89 hospitalizations to 69
-Two additional deaths to 85 (one was Cummins inmate- 6 deaths from Cummins unit total)
-33 total nursing home deaths
-Testing around 1500 or more tests each day as of late
-We will get 90,000 kits and swabs for testing from the Federal Government in May
-This will increase testing capabilities
-Goal of 60,000 tests in May
-Executive Order yesterday for the oil and gas companies in S. Arkansas
-Discussing reopening dental offices, working on an order to see patients in a non-urgent manner
-3.2% cases in age group 0-17, 8.3% cases in 18-24 age group, 38% (largest group) 25-44 age range, 33.6% cases in age group 45-64, 16.9% cases age group 65 and older.
-If you have symptoms, regardless of age you should be tested.

Steuart Walton
-Economic Re-Opening Task Force launching a website this Friday
-Will provide a consolidated place to find guidelines for businesses

May 5, 2020 1:59 PM

Governor Hutchinson Daily COVID-19 Press Conference 5/5/2020

-3,485, additional 38 cases to 3,496 cases (4 in correctional facilities)

-1,364 active cases

-2,050 recovered, increase of 34 from yesterday

-89 hospitalizations, down 2

-83 deaths to date, 2 new

-1,270 tests

-Still on the right trajectory of number of new cases

-Seven day rolling average of cases also on the right trajectory

-45 nursing home facilities, 261 resident cases, 148 nursing home staff

-Will be working on the directives for recreational pools

Correctional Facilities:

-Cummins- 876 inmates who have tested positive

-Forrest City Correctional Institute- 264 inmates who have tested positive (92 from yesterday, but are not in above reported numbers)

-Numbers will go up over the next days

Recreational Travel Restrictions:

-Restriction for recreational travelers for out of state being lifted.

-People can visit/residents can visit from/to non-hotspot states across the country: NY, New Orleans, NJ and CT. The Director of Arkansas Department of Health can reestablish those hot spots and restrictions based on development.

-If you return from a hot spot you are expected to self-quarantine for 14 days.

-This will allow hotels and lodges to come to Arkansas by neighboring states.

Governor Remarks:

-Yesterday had monthly revenue report- down 28.3% from this time a year ago. We able to revise the forecast to reflect downturn in revenue. Our economy has not taken a nosedive as it has in other states. Signed a proclamation- the new Executive Order that extends the emergency for another 45 days

-Previous executive orders are reaffirmed through the proclamation

May 4, 2020 2:11 PM

Governor Hutchinson Daily COVID-19 Press Conference 5/4/2020

-3,431 yesterday, increase of 27 for a total 3,458 of those 1362 are active cases
-Of the 27 new cases, 14 were in correctional institutions, only 13 community cases
-From 98, down 7 to 91 hospitalizations
-Up to 81 deaths, 5 new deaths
-5 deaths in Cummins correctional unit
-2,016 recovered
-1629 tests, only 27 positives. Very low positivity rate.
-873 cases in Cummins
-172 at the Federal Correctional Institute in Forrest City
-45 nursing homes with cases
-31 deaths in residents of nursing homes
-245 nursing home resident cases, 147 nursing home staff infected

Places of Worship Guidance- Effective today, May 4, 2020
-Online platforms strongly encouraged
-Signs advise no entry if recent fever, symptoms, or contact with positive patient
-6-foot physical distancing except for family groups
-Face coverings worn at all times by anyone over 10 years old
-Worship leaders addressing congregation and performing singers may take off face make
-12-foot physical distance required at these times
-Hand sanitizing stations at entrances
-Meet and greet times moved outside as possible
-Refreshments offered outdoors only
-Lines for entry/exit monitored for distancing
-No physical contact
-Eliminate use of items touched by multiple people, like collection plate/shared books
-Refrain from having people come forward to common altar tail for Holy Communion, blessing, etc.
-No classes for youth or childcare
-Sanitize common areas

Large Outdoor Venues Directive- Effective May 4, 2020
-Examples: arenas, sports venues, race tracks, stadiums, amusement centers, fairgrounds
-12-foot distance between performers and audience
-50 or fewer performers/players/contestants
-Audience of 50 or fewer people
-6-foot distancing in seating, except for family groups
-Lines marked/monitored for distancing
-Every other row should be unoccupied
-Face coverings required for anyone over 10 years old
-If 12-foot distancing maintained from all others, no face covering required for performer/player/contestant
-Signs should advise no entry if any symptoms or contact with positive patient
-Hand sanitizer stations at all entrances/exits
-Refreshments allowed, but no self-service
-Facility included seating cleaning before/after each use

Large Indoor Venues Directive- Effective May 18, 2020
-Examples: auditoriums, lecture halls, movie theaters, museums, areas, sports venues, race tracks, funeral homes, bowling alleys
-12-foot distance between performers and audience
-50 or fewer performers/players/contestants
-Audience of 50 or fewer people
-6-foot distancing in seating, except for family groups
-Lines marked/monitored for distancing
-Every other row should be unoccupied
-Face coverings required for anyone over 10 years old
-If 12-foot distancing maintained from all others, no face covering required for performer/player/contestant
-Signs should advise no entry if any symptoms or contact with positive patient
-Hand sanitizer stations at all entrances/exits
-Refreshments allowed, but no self-service
-Facility included seating cleaning before/after each use
-Does not include casinos

Arkansas Ready for Business Grant Program:
-$55 Million grant program open to all industry sectors at
-$1k per full time employee, $100k cap per company
->15% for women and minority owned businesses and >75% for businesses with 50 or fewer employees
-Existing applications remain in consideration; website re-opens at 8 a.m. on Tuesday, May 5
-Simple application process: driver’s license, singed W-9, and certificate of good standing
-Application website will close at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, May 6 to review submissions

May 2, 2020 2:04 PM

Governor Hutchinson Daily COVID-19 Press Conference 5/2/2020
-3,321 yesterday; today up 51 to 3,372; of those 4 were in the correctional institute
-1,312 active cases
-1987 recovered, up 14 since yesterday
-20 on a ventilator
-Hospitalizations increased by 5, up to 100
-Increase of 9 deaths, to 73, (2 of those in Dept of Corrections), (3 were nursing home deaths that were reclassified)
-Did 1,521 tests yesterday
-Prison system- numbers in Arkansas Prison system has decreased by 380 since the health emergency began.
-Downward trajectory of new cases.
-Percentage of positive tests by dates-
-Positivity case has gone down to around 4%
-12 days of decline in positivity rate
-Now have PPE decontamination equipment, can decontaminate up to 80,000 masks a day

-Governor encourages people to still wear masks in public and utilize social distancing. Remember the 6-foot physical distancing, frequent hand washing, hand sanitizer, be careful what you touch.

-May 4- some of the restrictions are going to start- the State is using a very careful approach and phasing it in.
-Monday, May 4 will bring an announcement in houses or worship and larger venues
-Coronavirus is likely to be with us this fall
-We continue to increase capability for contact tracing and Department of Health employees
-State is working to be prepared if we have a long struggle with COVID-19
-Barber and beauty schools can start up on May 6 IF they meet the requirements of the directive to lift restrictions
-Secretary AJ Gary- Director & State Homeland Security Advisor: been a difficult challenge to get PPE for all of our health care workers and first responders
-Working with hospitals, clinics, etc. to get our supply of PPE built up.
-Will push out list of vendors where people can get masks through chambers and local government

April 30, 2020 2:07 PM

Governor Daily COVID-19 Press Conference 4/30/2020
Yesterday 3,192; today up 63 to 3,255 total cases
1,888 are active cases
1,305 recovered- up 56 from yesterday
Up 2 to 95 hospitalizations
Up 2 deaths to 61
2520 tested performed yesterday statewide
1.5% positivity rate on 4/29/2020
23 on a ventilator
22 of total deaths are associated with nursing homes
Benton County- 101 cases to date, 0 deaths, 65 recoveries
Washington County- 86 cases, 3 deaths, 42 recoveries
No new cases at Cummins, 13 from Cummins unit hospitalized

Lifting restrictions:
May 4- will lift restrictions on gyms, fitness centers and indoor athletic facilities
Screening for staff and patrons
No entry for:
Recent travelers to NY, NJ, CT, New Orleans, overseas
Those with fever, symptoms, recent contact with COVID-19 patient
Anyone with compromised immune system or chronic diseases
Temperature check for staff
Face coverings for staff and patrons, except when actively exercising
No pools, spas, showers, saunas
Hand sanitizer available
Equipment sanitized after each use
12- foot distancing while working out and during training sessions, classes
No personal contact

Not ready to reengage team sports- teen and youth sports- we'll look at that in late May

Social restrictions are in place- even though some restrictions are being lifted. We still want to maintain downward curve and reduce the spread in Arkansas. Still use social distancing. Things are not back to normal- still should wear face masks.

April 29, 2020 2:19 PM

Governor Hutchinson Daily COVID-19 Press Conference 04/29/2020

3,111 cases yesterday up 81 to 3,192 cases today
1884 active cases, a decrease of 29 from yesterday
Added Montgomery County
Hospitalizations down 11 from 104 to 93
18 currently on ventilator, down 2
7 additional deaths, up to 59 total (1/3 of deaths have been those residing in nursing homes)
1249 who have recovered, increase of 103 yesterday
More recovered yesterday than new cases
Contact tracing- currently 194 people working on case investigations
No new cases in Cummins or additional correctional institutions- all new cases are from “the community”
Hope the peak was April 25, see the trend line going down
Hospitalizations are also on the downward trend

Restaurants will be open for limited dine in service
Phase one- May 11
Resuming dine-in operations: Phase One May 11
Physical distancing between patrons and tables
Reservations encouraged
Face covering
Gloves for staff
Daily staff screenings
Frequent handwashing
Pre-order when possible
No groups over 10 people
Senior hour encouraged
No self-service
Clean, disinfect tables, menus after each meal
Bars and restaurants within restaurants prohibited

Next phases:
Timeline will be based on data
Phase Two: increase capacity to 67% while maintaining physical distance
Phase Three: return to normal operations

Arkansas Ready for Business Grant Program- $15M to assist companies with the restart phase and to build consumer confidence.
Grant to offset expenses associated with ensuring the health and safety of employees and patrons
Eligible expenses include personal protective equipment, hand sanitizer stations, cleaning supplies and services, and other one-time expenses to enable a business to reopen or resume normal operations
All industry sectors are eligible
$1,000 per fulltime employee, up to $100,000 per company
Employee headcount and eligible expenses backdated to March 1,
Applications will be accepted at

Steuart Walton- some things will take longer to open up and get “back to normal”. The complexity involved in reopening an economy is profound. Task force is being as specific as possible to each industry and business.

April 28, 2020 2:07 PM

Governor Hutchinson 4/28/2020 Daily COVID-19 update
3,017 cases yesterday, up 94 today to 3,111
20 in Cummins, 74 in the community
3111 total cases
Active cases 1913, actually a decrease of 67 since yesterday
Down 5 to 104 hospitalizations
20 on a ventilator
52 deaths, up 2
1,146 recovered
159 recovered in the last 24 hours
Recovered is more than new cases- actual cases going down
30 plasma donors, 13 have received plasma from the donors
In May we will reach the 2% testing threshold
White House will help meet the testing threshold with additional testing material
We are watching the testing capability, make sure we can do the contact testing, trace any flare ups, watching community spread
Cummins unit- 860 inmates infected, 51 staff
Forrest City- 87 inmates, 12 staff infected
208 nursing home patients that have been infected
115 staff from nursing homes


ARKANSAS STATE PARKS for Phase One Reopening:
Target date: May 1: Camping for in-state resident RVs only.
Open to Arkansas residents with self-contained RVs.
Contactless check-in/check-out

Target date May 15- Visitor Information Centers, Retail and Exhibits:
Open the following to limited capacity with social distancing enforced: restaurants and food service facilities
Museums and exhibits
Retail including Visitor Centers, Gift Shops, and Golf Pro Shops
Marinas and Rental Equipment

Target date May 15: Cabins, Lodges and Rent-A-RV
Reservations limited to Friday through Monday only to allow for cleaning, In-state residents only

April 27, 2020 12:43 PM

Governor Press Conference- COVID-19 Update
Yesterday 2,941, today 76 new to a total of 3,017
1.8% positivity rate yesterday
Total tests 40,074 in Arkansas to date
60 were from community and 16 were from Cummins
316 are healthcare workers, 13 more than yesterday
203 in nursing homes
115 staff at nursing homes
Cummins- total of 856 cases, 50 staff
109 hospitalizations- net gain of 2
25 currently on ventilator
1 new death, total of 50

Results of the Two-Day Testing Surge Campaign-
Increased testing to over 1500 tests on 4/25 and 4/26- met our goal

Gating criteria that we are to satisfy before we look toward opening
Opening Up America Gating-
On a downward trajectory with new cases
In terms of the gating criteria that the White House has given us it’s looking positive in terms of the trends here in Arkansas.

We have not been on a downward trajectory of documented cases within a 14-day period- BUT we have some flexibility. Our positivity rate is on the downward trend.

April 25, 2020 1:57 PM

Governor Hutchinson COVID-19 Daily Update 04/25/2020
2741 cases yesterday, additional 89
47 of the 84 cases in Cummins, 42 from the community
2830 total cases
1813 are active cases
22 on ventilators
970 who have recovered
194 in nursing homes, 109 nursing home staff, 37 nursing homes with investigations
826 inmates tested positive in Cummins
104 hospitalizations yesterday, 104 again today
46 deaths yesterday, added 3, 49 deaths today
100 something hospitalization as opposed to the predicted 2,000 hospitalizations during our projected peak
Increases in testing during the two-day surge test campaign
Numbers from testing surge- we won’t see for a few days
Yesterday 1,003 reports, positivity was 4.2%

Governor Hutchinson- knows everyone is ready to be normal and we’re not there yet, but we are looking at lifting some restrictions and still diminish the spread of the virus

Secretary of Education- John Key
There will be no traditional graduations before July 1
In some communities high school graduation is one of the biggest events of the year, we cannot mitigate
Do not plan traditional graduations prior to July 1. We will adjust the date if needed based on recommendations of Health Department
Encourage schools to explore other ways to celebrate seniors
Will accept proposals from schools this week on planning these nontraditional graduations
Encourage school districts to wait until after July 1.

April 23, 2020 3:02 PM

Governor Hutchinson COVID-19 Press Conference 4/23/2020

Data/ information from Gov. Hutchinson:
2276 yesterday, increase of 189 cases 2465 COVID-19 cases
Of the 189, 122 are from Cummins maximum security unit
67 new
101 hospitalizations
45 deaths, 3 new
7-day rolling average of the new cases in Arkansas that exclude the correctional facilities, trending upwards just a bit.
Gov Advisors’ Group on Testing- initial report has been given to the Governor- shows that we are increasing testing capability
Some days had over 1600 tests
Has since declined from that peak, now are around 1000 tests a day

Recommendations from Gov Advisors’ Group on Testing:
Expand PCR testing for all patients with symptoms consistent with COVID-19 and those with a history of potential exposure
Expand PCR testing for contact investigations (currently testing only those who are symptomatic).
Screen for COVID-19 in high-risk settings (already being done for testing those coming into hospitals for elective procedures). (maybe include long term care centers)
Develop a strategy for statewide serosurveillance (antibody testing)

Two-day Arkansas Surge Campaign- If you think you have symptoms, don’t wait- get tested!
Coupled with advertising campaign
We have an inventory of tests.
From 1,000 to 1500 tests each day over the next two days.
Arkansas Surge Campaign- If you think you have symptoms, don’t wait- get tested!

Dr. Smith, Department of Health
189 new cases
122 are inmates in Cummins
67 are community, but that also includes some staff from Cummins
687 inmates at Cummins tested positive
35 staff at Cummins tested positive
Almost done with testing inmates and additional staff at Cummins
101 currently hospitalized, net gain of 4
24 on ventilator
45 deaths
174 nursing home residents who has tested positive
902 who have recovered, 39 more than yesterday

Chancellor Cam Patterson, UAMS
UAMS has screened about 15,000 individuals
Tested 4,129 individuals
Are committed to the two-day surge to increase COVID-19 testing
Serologic screening will determine the probability that you have been infected in the past
Our current nose swab is to determine if you have an active case

If they want a test, they get a test, period. Even if they don’t have insurance. If you do have insurance, insurance will get charged.
There are a variety of federal testing sources that will pay for someone to get a test if they don’t have insurance.
UAMS testing sites are not even asking for payment or proof of insurance

April 22, 2020 2:14 PM

Governor Hutchinson COVID-19 daily press conference
Data/information from Gov Hutchinson:
As a State we are addressing continuing health and economic needs in Arkansas
2227 cases yesterday 2276 cases today
49 new cases
97 hospitalizations
42 deaths (43 yesterday, a Missouri resident counted yesterday)
April 20- huge spike in new cases- Cummins Prison (over 300 cases that day)
Trendline continues down for new cases of those not in a congregate setting
Important announcements:
Indicated that May 4 was the TARGET DATE for lifting some restrictions if we need some needed goals
Elective procedures restriction is being lifted effective April 27 (earlier than expected) but with our number of hospitalizations and limited spread we feel comfortable putting thing into place
Hospitals will have requirements to meet in order to do these procedures

TIMELINE for future decisions that lead up to May 4:
May 4 is the TARGET for Arkansas to lift some restrictions if we continue to make progress on reducing community spread of COVID-19.
The below decision announcements will indicate whether a May 4 opening will be allowed and any applicable restrictive guidelines.
April 29: announcement on restaurant decision
April 30: announcement on gyms decision
May 1: beauty and barber salons decision
May 4: Places of worship and larger venues

Dr. Smith- Dpt. of Health
Continue to use a data driven approach
Directive: elective procedures- still finalizing some language. Will not be effective until Monday. Will start will day surgery, healthy patients- cannot have any symptoms. Encourage hospitals to start slow, ensure they have enough supplies of PPE
Will have to test these patients of COVID-19 within 48 hours
2276 total cases- 1,371 active cases
23 on ventilator
863 recovered, up 54 from yesterday
262 health care workers, 148 have recovered
Increase of cases associated with nursing homes
170 cases in nursing homes, 31 facilities
681 inmates in Cummins Prison, 14 staff
Decided to test additional barracks. Could have additional cases added to total and testing additional staff
Providing guidance to bring back different areas, will do it in a way that is thoughtful, careful and done in time with what we’re seeing in our numbers.
Continue to practice physical distancing and measures which have helped up get to where we are.

Gov Hutchinson:
Economic task force led by Steuart Walton
Has been in coordination with neighboring governors, but will act independently based on our data
In Phase 1 we are still discouraging discretionary travel
National capacity for testing is increasing, turnaround time has become more effective
Larger venues are going to be a future decision- not a phase 1 decision
Guidelines in place that apply to places of worship including not gatherings of 10 or more.

April 19, 2020 3:19 PM

Zoom Board Meeting Tuesday, April 21, 6:30 p.m.
Siloam Springs Mayor John Mark Turner reminds you that the April 21 meeting of the Board of Directors will take place in a virtual setting, via Zoom Video Conferencing. Using Zoom Video Conferencing, residents will be able to join the meeting online or by phone and will be able to provide comments that will be part on the record. In-lieu of participating in the meeting via Zoom, residents who wish to provide comments as part of the regularly scheduled public input portion of the meeting, or on a particular agenda item, may email comments to the City Clerk, a minimum of 1-hour in advance of the workshop (no later than 4:30 p.m.), to have your comments read into the record. Please provide the agenda item number/letter when emailing. If your comments are meant for general public input, please state that. You may email your comments to or
If a resident wishes to participate in the Board meeting via Zoom, please follow these directions.
Zoom online meeting instructions for the public (attendees):
Time: Tuesday, April 21, 2020 6:30 pm Board of Directors meeting
Join Zoom meeting via the Zoom video conferencing website or app (pc/Mac; iOS Android):
Via the Internet:
Website:, meeting ID: 952-4234-0176
If you are joining the meeting via pc/Mac or mobile device, please use your full name as your screen name.
Via Phone:
Dial in with telephone (toll free): +1 669-900-9128.
You will be prompted to enter the meeting id#
Meeting ID: 952-4234-0176
When prompted for a participant or attendee number, press #.
The following commands can be entered using your phone’s dial pad while in a Zoom meeting:
*6 - toggle mute/unmute
*9 - raise hand
*attendees utilizing the “dial in with telephone” feature will have their telephone number masked. example: 1-479-****-777
All Zoom attendees will need to utilize the “raise their hand” function in the zoom meeting to be recognized when the public is asked if anyone wishes to speak.
The moderator will unmute attendees when the forum is open for public commentary.
All attendees will be muted automatically upon joining the meeting.

April 18, 2020 2:37 PM

Governor Hutchinson Press Conference 4/18/2020

COVID-19 Governor Hutchinson-

Thank you to the EMT workers and ambulance drivers across the state.

Case update

1695 yesterday, 1739 cases, up 44 (not counting Cummins)

86 hospitalizations

38 deaths

Sec of Commerce and the Economic Development team working with rural hospitals- $10M distributed to 27 different rural hospitals in Arkansas. Will received the grants. $250k--$500k

UAMS will receive $500k for support of telemedicine

Quick response testing unit- have 80 around the state that can give results in 15 minutes

Dr. Dillehey- Dpt. of Health

1739 cases, 44 new cases

989 active cases

703 recoveries, 110 more than yesterday

1 death, over 65

86 hospitalizations, 7 less than yesterday

291 hospitalizations to date

Currently 22 on ventilator

46-64 age group is most affected

Continued use of masks and increased handwashing

Cummins- 230 inmates, no positive staff- specialists visited yesterday to assess the situation. Warden is following the guidelines, provided a few extra recommendations. Learned inmates are all wearing masks, have made 32,000 masks

Cam Patterson, UAMS

Expansion of testing throughout the State

Some communities don’t have the ability to do drive through testing. To meet the need for those communities UAMS now have a mobile unit. It is going to communities who have asked for assistance.

Visited Texarkana and completed testing; also visited Forrest City this week. Screened 430 individuals. 183 tested, only 1 positive case

Visiting Mariana, Camden and McGee next week.

Gov Hutchinson Important Announcement: Creation of Arkansas Economic Recovery Task Force

Report from Medical Advisory committee to look at criteria as we move to lift some of the restrictions on the economy.

We want to reopen and lift some restrictions- goal is May 4.

Executive Reorder- Arkansas Economic Recovery Task Force

Steuart Walton is chairman of the taskforce, 26-27 representatives of different fields in the economy, outdoor, sports, small businessperson, retail associations, etc.

3 cabinet secretaries; Secretary of Agriculture Wes Ward, Secretary of Commerce Mike Preston, Secretary of Parks, Heritage and Tourism Stacy Hurst.

Task force will meet in industry groups- and allow to expand but do so in a way with public health requirements.

Task force will be making recommendations to Gov Hutchinson and to their industry groups and comply with public health directives.

Continue to take care and not contribute to the spread, continue to socially distance and wear masks.

April 17, 2020 2:26 PM

Governor Press Conference 4/17/2020

Case report/information:

1620 yesterday, 1695 today

37 deaths, no new

93 hospitalizations

Infection rate- positive cases as a percentage of tests performed- Arkansas around 8% positive rate

Gating criteria- President laid out phases, but states have been given the flexibility to adjust

Phase One- we will adjust so we can start lifting some restrictions. But we have not reached that phase yet.

Dr. Smith-

75 new cases today

1065 active cases

14 newly hospitalized, 6 discharged

23 on a ventilator

593 recovered, 45 more than yesterday

228 health care workers infected, 5 more than yesterday

116 in nursing homes, decrease of 2 because of false positives Forrest City Fed Correctional Institute- 57 total inmates, total of 62 because of staff and contractors

Little Rock Community Corrections, total of 62 inmates, 27 staff

Cummins- 83 new positive cases, total of 129 (increased testing capabilities)

Medical Advisory Committee For Post Peak-

4 priorities for Arkansas:

1. Restoring AR economy in a timely fashion

2. Protecting our most vulnerable

3. Maintaining adequate health care and public health capacity

4. Preventing resurgence of COVID in our communities

Will use the “Opening up America” guidelines but will adjust some for Arkansas

Should see a downward trend by early May

Can offer testing to all symptomatic persons

We should be able to meet the foreseeable needs with hospital bed and ventilators

Keep the behavioral changes that got us to this point

Social distancing

Cloth masks in public


No groups greater than 10

Businesses can start to prepare on how to reopen when we do get to phase one

We can release the Targeted directives we can deescalated them as needed- still data driven

Will have a Statewide plan that looks at regional differences in our State

Draw motivation from those we need to protect- those vulnerable populations in our families and social circles

Governor Hutchinson:

Objective is May 4 to begin lifting some restrictions in place

We have to be able to manage the spread to make sure it continues to reduce

Wear your mask when you’re out in public and you can’t socially distance

Need to continue to build up our capacity for contact tracing for every positive case- have gone from 3 nurses to 150 nurses to do contact tracing

May 2 is peak prediction right now, hope that peak comes earlier, but also have to measure our peak with some of our bursts in congregate settings

Dr Smith- we won’t really know the peak until we’re far past it because it’s so gradual. We’ll use our data specifically without the prison outbreaks since they distort the “main data”.

April 16, 2020 2:09 PM

Governor Press Conference 04/16/2020

Information from Governor Hutchinson

1569 yesterday, today 1620

85 hospitalization, increase of 2

4 deaths, 37 deaths

Continuing to go down in the number of new COVID-19 cases per day

Plateau state in hospitalizations

COVID-19 is a highly contagious virus, that we have to be on guard against.

It is a deadly virus that has serious health outcomes

Will meet with Medical Advisory Board tomorrow- will advise to the criteria we will look for post peak from a public health standpoint

Will be on a call with President and other Governors at 2:00 today

First part public health, second part economic crisis

Unemployment claims- 136,000 through April 11, an additional 14,000 since then

Dr. Smith case information and statistics

1620 total cases

1035 active cases

5 new hospitalized, 3 who left the hospital

21 on a ventilator

37 total deaths

548 recovered, 59 more than yesterday

223 health care workers who have been infected, 81 have recovered

118 cases in nursing home residents, up 15 since yesterday

28 nursing homes affected

Forrest City- 46 inmates, 9 staff and contractors

Cummins State Prison unit- 46 inmates, no staff positive

Little Rock Community Corrections- 27 staff, 59 inmates

Some good trends in the way our total cases are going, staying steady with hospitalizations. Too early for a victory lap but will plan ahead for after the peak

Secretary Preston- Arkansas Department of Labor

Working hard to process unemployment claims will have data and information on processes

Extended hours of the hotline

Email alert system for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance -you will get updates about the program and when you are able to file for it.

SBA loans- $250 Billion 14,803 businesses approved for payroll protection plan

April 14, 2020 2:08 PM

Governor Press Conference 4/14/2020

COVID-19 Daily Update

1410 yesterday, 1498 today (88 new cases)

1024 active cases

29 on ventilators

444 recovered (53 more than yesterday)

65 health care workers who have recovered. 206 health care workers have had COVID-19

93 nursing home residents infected, 71 workers, 6 deaths total

28 active contact investigations in nursing homes in the state

2 additional deaths, 32 total

81 hospitalizations

Cummings Prison- no new positive cases, tested all in one barrack, have continued to test- no new positives

Fed Correctional Institute in Forrest City- the medical team of bureau prisons and CDC are dealing with FCI in Forrest City

Big spike yesterday due to prison population testing and positive cases

Number of hospitalizations- at 81 now, hoping for a plateau- a statistic that is constant and measurable. Currently seeing a plateau

Comparing with other states: Positives per 100,000- we are 49 positives per 100,000 (April 14 dated)

Test per 10,000- Arkansas is higher than mid-range for testing per 10,000. Started at 30, has increased to 69 tests per 10,000. (April 14)

Total deaths to date- Arkansas is very low (April 14) per 100,000, at .99% deaths per 100,000

Travel among interstates have decrease 55%

Message Boards on highways and on borders:

Mobile Message Boards: “No Rec Lodging for out of State Traveler”

Permanent Message Boards: “Out of State Rec Lodging Prohibited”

We will make decisions based on the best public health advice balanced with the essential needs of our society to move and make a living. This is not a 30-day battle or a 60-day fight, but it will continue for some time into the future.

Medical plan will help reduce the executive orders, but it will be from a health care prospective.

We will do what is needed for the best interests of Arkansans.

Exec Order: they can file workers comp if there’s a causal relationship with catching COVID-19 with their job. (please see Executive Order for specific verbiage and details)

Liability immunity- for medical emergency responders- physicians, PA, NPs, RNs, more- so they can work in this emergency environment without fear of litigation. (please see Executive Order for specific verbiage and details)

Prisons: federal and state prisoner positives make up 10% of our COVID-19 cases in Arkansas.

Contact investigation has gone from 3 nurses to nearly 150 who are doing contact investigation.

Dexter Payne- Division of Corrections has taken many steps to stop the spread in facilities. Visitation suspension through June 1 (at this time). Video visitation cost has been reduced, as well as cost of phone calls. Moving one barrack at a time- to dining hall, yard time, etc.

April 13, 2020 3:12 PM

Governor Press Conference 4/13/2020

Yesterday 1280, today 1410 cases

74 hospitalized

30 deaths

Have had an outbreak in the Forrest City Federal Correctional Institute

Now is State Prison, in Cummins Maximum One barrack has tested 43 out of 46 have tested positive in one set of barracks

Restriction on visitors continues to be in place

Active cases verse total cases: number of positives1410 minus approximately 190 recovered Active Positive Cases- just under 1000

Peak was supposed to be April 24, but is now forecast for April 29

Wear face masks when you cannot social distant. This is not a time to let up on this.

We must continue to avoid large gatherings, wear masks and continue to socially distant.

Governor has announced a Medical Advisory Board- for COVID-19 Post Peak

Will look ahead when we are looking at the peak and on that downward slope.

Will discuss opening up and give us guidance on how to do so

What should be the criteria to keep up on the downslope and avoid peaks later in the year.

What do we need to do to not see a resurgence?

Dr. Smith:

130 news cases (single largest in 24-hour time period)

67 new positives- most were from very high-risk settings

Little Rock Community Corrections- 27 staff positive, 5 of 15 inmates test positive

Forrest City- 46 inmates, 8 staff, 1 contractor, CDC will be taking lead since it’s a Federal institute

24 total positive in a drug rehab center in Central Ark.

1410 total, 980 active cases

Jackson county

74 hospitalized

8 new hospitalized

28 on ventilator

30 deaths

193 health care workers, 58 of whom have recovered

Summer camps probably won't happen- it's a highly congregate setting with people from all over the country. There will be some guidance on summer camps being sent out.

Average hospital stay around 6 days (this is not conclusive data and only an estimate)

April 10, 2020 7:45 PM

A special announcement from the City of Siloam Springs:

All previously directed public facility closures and restrictions on public access to city facilities are hereby extended through May 15th.
Beginning April 13th through June 11th, the 3% fee charged by the City to residents paying bills with credit cards is suspended. The City will continue to not charge late fees on utility bills and will continue to not shut off utilities. These both have been extended through May 15th.

For City staff:
All expenses related to travel and training, except that required by law or that is essential for maintaining licensure, is suspended until further notice.
All hiring for unfilled positions is suspended until further notice.
All non-essential purchases are suspended until further notice.

April 10, 2020 2:24 PM

Governor Press Conference 4/10/2020
Governor Press Conference 4/10/2020 COVID-19 Update

Yesterday 1094, today 1171 cases in Arkansas

86 hospitalized

23 deaths, increase of 2

Presented a chart two weeks ago that we would have 3500 actual cases. Shows where we are today- 1100 vs 3500.

Expected vs actual hospital bead use- projected was 200+ and we are at 86 in hospitalization rate. There’s not a large escalation of those.

Dr. Smith and Governor Hutchinson had a conversation with Dr. Fauci. They briefed him and got his comments on where we are going

Said Dr. Fauci gave his stamp of approval

Dr. Smith data/comments:

Graph that is showing number of new cases each day, the number of new cases has leveled off in the 70s for the last week. This is the first graph we expect to go down as we approach our peak.

Number of new hospitalizations are also leveling off

CDC- March 31 vs. April 7. All states have increased since then, but Arkansas had a lower increase than all but 5 states.

Testing; yesterday had 1348 reports (largest number of tests to date)

40 mobile tests Texarkana yesterday, Helena today

3.6% positivity rate

77 new cases

Yesterday 1094, today 1171 cases

86 hospitalized

23 deaths, increase of 2

836 active cases (total cases, minus those who have recovered and minus those who passed away)

23 newly hospitalized, 10 were discharged

33 on ventilator

79 nursing home residents, 315 recovered

168 health care workers, 46 have recovered


A lot of businesses are still open to make sure essential supplies and food are moving

Please continue to social distance

Encouraging churches not to meet and discouraging family gatherings

Secretary Mike Preston- Department of Labor

132,000 claims since the pandemic started

Anyone who filed in March 21 or Marsh 28 should have already received their unemployment check

Week ending April 4- funds will be in your account this coming Monday.

172 loans approved more than $3.5 Million

Dr. Rex Horne-

Spoke encouraging words about Easter.

Let’s remember even in social distancing that there is another day coming and we have good days ahead. Hopefully it will be sooner rather than later.

We are all blessed.

Conversation with Dr. Fauci-

Governor wanted to get his guidance. Fauci looked at the data before they spoke, looked back to March 11.

Gov spoke about the targeting response, social distancing and the wearing of masks.

Fauci- Dr. What you’re doing is right and good. What we are doing is a model and right for Arkansas

Fauci asked how long the people in Arkansas could handle the length of social distancing.

The topic of a stay at home order was brought up. Fauci supported our strategy for our people in Arkansas. Governor said he was open to his guidance, but that Fauci agreed with our strategy.

Dr. Smith-

Said we have provided guidance to businesses that are open that will minimize the transmission of COVID-19

Lowest transmission rate per capita than those states around us

Spoke about how deaths are attributed.

When someone comes into the hospital with COVID19 but with an underlying health issue- are generally attributing that to COVID19

There have been no positive cases within the state correctional facilities.

Governor Hutchinson:

Commented about Seniors missing out on a lot.

We can't be hugging strangers or hugging and having close contact

Continue to practice social distancing and have the discipline to keep with that social distancing.

April 9, 2020 2:20 PM

Governor Press Conference 4/9/2020

Governor Hutchinson:

Thank you to workers at Department of Workforce Service. Working with those who are seeking unemployment. Thank you for your work.

Spoke about cases by counties

Please continue to keep our recreational out of state travel

“Actual” versus the “expected hospitalizations” needed is much lower than expected.

Do not violate the limitations of social gathering. Continue to follow guidelines, wear your mask if you cannot social distance and if you’re out in public.

COVID-19 data- Dr. Nate Smith Director and State Health Officer for the Arkansas Department of Health

1023 yesterday, 1094 cases today

76 hospitalized yesterday, 73 hospitalized today

21 newly hospitalized, 24 have left the hospital

31 on a ventilator

21 deaths (3 more than yesterday) All 3 60+

253 have recovered, 45 more than yesterday

158 health care workers, 18 more since yesterday

841 active cases (numbers between the total cases and the amount of recovered cases)

Added Madison County

Additional Dr. Smith Information

Quarantine is someone who has not tested positive but have been exposed. Usually 14 days from last exposure. If they develop symptoms, then they need to be tested.

If exposed to someone with COVID-19, 14-day quarantine from last exposure. If develop symptoms, then they need to be tested.

CDC provided guidance for those in essential positions (health care related)

Isolation is for someone who has tested positive. Self-isolated 7 days from initial symptom and three days from the last fever. Must be fever free for three days.

For those coming from other states and other countries, please self-quarantine.

Plasma donations from those who have recovered are supposed to begin today. We believe those antibodies will help those who are severely ill.

Dr. Richard Smith Chairman of the Department of Psychiatry in the College of Medicine at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) and Director of UAMS’ Psychiatric Research Institute

Be mindful of your mental health.

This type of emergency for those who have – not the time to stop treatment, please call your support through these difficult times. Most providers have services for their existing patients in some form. Reach out to others safely during these difficult times.

Paula Stone, Deputy Director at Department of Human Services

Every Arkansans has access to a mental health service

DHS mental health line: 844-763-0198 Monday- Friday 8am-4:30 pm

Will help with a list of providers, schedule assessment, almost all are able to provide services via telemedicine.

Crisis Intervention services are available as well

Governor Hutchinson additional comments:

What criteria will need to be reached before we start opening business?

Developing that criteria right now.

Must see the data of the peak and then we can make more concrete plans

Governor Hutchinson thinks we are going to open quicker but cannot give a specific date.

April 9, 2020 1:21 PM

Beginning April 13 through June 11, the 3% fee charged by the City to residents paying bills with credit cards is suspended. The City will continue to not charge late fees on utility bills and will continue to not shut off utilities. These both have been extended through May 15th.

April 8, 2020 2:11 PM

Governor Press Conference 4/8/2020

Data and case numbers-

1023 cases today

Added Franklin County

76 hospitalized (two more than yesterday)

68 in nursing homes (7 more than yesterday)

30 on ventilators (4 more than yesterday)

147 positive health care workers (13 more than yesterday)

208 classified as recovered (56 more than yesterday)

18 deaths (same) 3 from Northwest Arkansas

814 reports yesterday (testing)

Total 6.6% positivity rate from 4/7/2020

14225 tests to date in the State

Secretary Preston-

3 Million from Economic Development Commission for the short-term bridge loan program. This loan helps the small businessperson to meet needs. Governor Hutchinson has released an additional $1 for bridge loans.

Unemployment insurance claims- 110,000 applications since the pandemic began. Likely 150,000 application at the end of the week.

Please do not go into the Unemployment Office, do this via the phone or online.

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance- (those independent contractors, freelancers, self-employed) received guidance Sunday night from the Federal Government. We will have to build a new system because of the information needed. Looking at a 3-week time frame to build out the system and process the claims. Will be able to back date those claims once we can process them.

Dr. Smith-

Federal Correction Insititute- no new positive tests, although new people with symptoms. CDC team in place and gathering data and information.

Family gatherings during normal times can now be dangerous.

4 weeks since our first case

Practice self-care and think about your mental health.

Want to continue testing people within priority groups. As the capability increases, it would be helpful to begin testing those who have symptoms but don’t have an underlying health condition or are part of a vulnerable population

Ideally, we would like everyone to be able to know their status, but we’re not there yet.

We don’t know if hydroxychloroquine is effective in fighting COVID-19

Governor Hutchinson discusses State of the State and funding:

Public education will be full funded

Public safety will be fully funded

Medicaid will be full funded

Essential services will be met during this time

Tightening of the belt in state government

Grant funds might not be as available

Shared burden among state agencies and hope to minimize the public sphere impact

Need for a discretionary fund to fill the holes

April 7, 2020 1:56 PM

Governor Press Conference 4/7/2020

Special thanks to the childcare workers who are taking a special effort to provide childcare for those who are in essential services, health care and others.

Data/Case numbers:

875 yesterday, today 946 cases
Logan County and Clay County added
134 health care workers have tested positive
61 nursing home residents
74 currently hospitalized
148 who have ever been hospitalized
18 deaths (two additional deaths, both of whom were over 65)
152 recovered
Completed over 24 hours over 1400 tests in Arkansas. Largest testing in 24 hours to date.
Results from 1436 tests 1.6% positivity
Federal Correctional Institution in Forrest City- 24 inmates positive, 5 staff. CDC team expected to arrive this evening.

Should be an encouragement that our targeted approach is working. Social distancing, wearing a mask, no gatherings more than 10 is working.

We will get 500 quick tests from Abbott Labs for healthcare workers.

Executive Order does give the cities the flexibility to deal with special issues such as curfews, closing parks, etc.

If people are not following the guidelines, it can be reported to the Arkansas Health hotline

Statistics per 100,000
31.8 cases per 100,000
454.9 tests per 100,000
2.5 hospitalizations per 100,00

April 6, 2020 2:34 PM

Governor press conference 4/6/2020

Case update:

830, now 875 cases

74 hospitalizations

Added Izzard County

16 deaths

102 recovered (5 more than yesterday)

122 health care workers, 8 more than yesterday

74 hospitalized

22 on ventilators

2.3% of cases under 18, 18-24 is 6.7%, 25-44 is 30.3%, 45-65 is 34.9%, 25.7% aged 65+

Test Results from 4/5/2020

949 test results yesterday

822 from commercial lab, 4% of those tested in the commercial lab yesterday were positive.

76 tests done yesterday, 10.5% of those were positive at the Arkansas Department of Health Public Health Lab yesterday

Governor spoke of the efforts of slowing the spread in Arkansas

Social distancing is helping, but this week is critical

Follow social distancing and when you can’t wear the masks

Want to continue to slow that spread.

While cases will go up every day, we want to slow doubling time / the speed of the spread.

Another indication that our slowing the spread makes a difference

We are low compared to other states cases vs. 100,000

Without jeopardizing our population, we will send 5 ventilators to Louisiana

We have slowed the rate of growth. Hope to slow it even more.

“While we’ve had some success in slowing the spread, it’s clear that this is going to go on for some time. The remainder of this school year is going to be closed. We’re not going to allow in-school instruction, but we will continue with alternative methods of instruction through the end of this school year”, Governor Hutchinson said during this COVID-19 daily press conference.

Closed for on-site instruction but will continue alternative methods of instruction.

Will extend through AMI.

Digital learning classes will continue.

Governor Hutchinson applauds teachers and students for hanging in there. But recognize education has to continue.

Secretary Key- Arkansas Commissioner of Education

Child nutrition services will continue as long as they can follow the CDC guidelines.

Be flexible- both districts and parents.

It is impractical to try and replicate the school environment when they are home

Focus should be on core content.

April 5, 2020 2:10 PM

Governor Hutchinson Press Conference 4/5/2020
COVID-19 update

Dr. Nate Smith
Heather Larking, Executive Director of Arkansas Community Foundation
Laurie Landrow, Pres, CEO of Entergy

743 yesterday, 830 cases today (14 are in Federal correctional Insititute in Forrest City)
72 hospitalized yesterday, 67 hospitalized
Under projections-Arkansas was predicted to be at 2,000 cases, which is an indication of beating that trendline that was established weeks ago.
We are social distancing and taking measures that are important to contain the spread of this virus
No more than 10 people even with social distancing
Surgeon General pointed out that this is a critical week for our nation
Take every precaution, follow the guidelines to reduce the spread

Use of masks- encourage people to wear a mask when you cannot practice social distance
Governor will be wearing a mask as will the Arkansas First Lady

Dr. Smith: COVID-19 numbers
830 cases, largest single day increase
Yell and Phillips counted are added. 64 total counties have reported cases.
2.4% of cases in children
18-24 ages 6.6%
25-44 ages 29.6%
45-64 34.9%
65 and older 26.4%
114 health care workers
130 to date that have been hospitalized
27 on ventilators
43 have been on to date
16 dates
97 recovered
11,488 tests done to date
Of those who have passed away, 12 have been 65+, 4 are 19-64 range
Total of 9 nursing homes where we had cases, 2 previously did and now do not

Forrest City Federal Correctional Institute
8 inmates have tested positive, 20 more with symptoms
4 staff positive, another 15 have had significant exposure
Invited team from CDC to help with this facility

Arkansans Affected Financially:
Likely 100,000 have filed unemployment because of this crisis
People are struggling financially because of the loss of jobs or businesses
There are still going to be gaps and great needs, even with assistance opportunities

Arkansas Community Foundation
As a result of the needs- the State is partnering with Arkansas Community Foundation with a COVID-19 relief fund
This is where Arkansans can contribute to help other Arkansans.
Will help Ark nonprofits serving on the frontline of this pandemic
Over $2M so far Tyson, Windgate Foundation, Walmart Foundation, many more to donate to or reach out to their favorite nonprofit and give
Will help nonprofits continue to support their clients dealing with COVID19
Helps nonprofits in all 75 counties, 28 locations in the State which help work with nonprofits all over the state

Entergy Arkansas-
Suspended disconnects for non-payments (please note Siloam Springs utility late fees and disconnects have already been suspended)
Donated $100,000 to Arkansas Community Foundation to help Arkansans

April 4, 2020 2:13 PM

Governor Press Conference 4/4/2020

COVID19 Data

People are paying attention and doing what they need to do

It adds to the stress on our economy and business, specifically tourism

701 yesterday, 743 cases today

72 hospitalized

Over 1000 tests done in the last 24 hours

Lafayette, Dallas and Prairie Counties are all added

We are following good business practices and CDC guidelines

This is both a health crisis and an economic crisis

State bridge loan approved 80 loans over $1.7 M to small businesses across the state

First SBA loan was approved, Federal loans are starting to follow up.

Unemployment up 66,000 with 8,00 in the cue. On Wednesday the unemployment call center received 300,000 calls.

State economic assistance grants have been given to rural hospitals- $10 million

Targeted response efforts in Arkansas- we will continue to build on these as we see needs:

NEW executive order 20-13:

Applies to commercial lodgings and short-term rentals, including hotels, motels and vacation rentals. They shall only permit occupancy to the following guests: health care professionals, first responders, law enforcement, state and federal employees on official business, national guard members on active duty, airline crew members, patients of hospitals and families, journalists, persons unable to return to their home because of COVID-19 travel restrictions, Arkansas citizens in exigent circumstances, persons in need of shelter due to domestic violence or homelessness, employees of hotels/motels that need persons there, persons away from their home due to work related travel.

Recreational travelers are not permitted from out of state. This directs the travel industry not to issue occupancy to out of state recreational travelers.

We believe this will reduce the travel we have already discouraged.
Dr. Smith:

743 cases, an increase of 39

1040 reports yesterday, largest number in a single day to date

3.4% positive from yesterday

20 kids, 49 are 18-245, 210 25-44, 263 45-64, 201 65+

12 are pregnant women

106 health care workers

72 currently hospitalized, up 1 from yesterday

23 on ventilators, down 3 yesterday

61 in nursing homes, up 8 from yesterday (3 passed away)

14 total death, up 2 from yesterday, both ages 65+

Deaths: 10 were 65+, 4 were 19-64 ages

10 total nursing homes are

CDC has recommended masks for use by the public. This is recommended in public settings when it’s impossible to maintain 6-foot distancing.

Purpose of masks are limited from protecting the wearer but will catch droplets from others.

Allergy symptoms and early symptoms of COVID19 are very similar but could be producing small droplets that could be infecting other people.

Do not take away masks from health care workers

Singing can produce small droplets, a case in Washington when a choir rehearsal had an outbreak because one person was infected.

Forrest City Detention Center has reported a small number of positive- 3 inmates, 3 staff.

Businesses are supposed to follow social distancing protocols, mark off six-foot increments, contactless payment systems, disinfect high touch surfaces.

ARDOT has compared traffic patterns and highway usage, there has been a 40% reduction in travel since the emergency has come about.

Applauds Walmart, 5 customers per 1000 feet and Target for reducing customer flow.

Continue to monitor State Parks- if there is congestion and social distancing is not followed State Parks can be closed by Director Hurst as needed.

Arkansas has gotten all that we will get (PPE and COVID19 supplies) from the Federal stockpile.

April 3, 2020 2:17 PM

Governor Hutchinson Press Conference 04/03/2020
Governor Press Conference 4/3/2020


Total 646 yesterday, up to 704 cases total 4/3/2020

Hospitalizations: 71, up 5 from yesterday

26 on ventilators, up 3

Total of 12 deaths, same as yesterday

60 that have recovered

96 of those 704 cases are healthcare workers

One new county- Monroe County

60% female, 40% male

20 kids less than 18, 197 over 65, 487 ages 18-64

Testing continues to increase in Arkansas

9,626 to date in the state. 7.3% are positive. 658 tests done yesterday

The State has received our first shipment of hospital protective gear that the State of Arkansas has procured. We have received some shipments. Will work with ADEM to distribute the PPE we have required. Have received gloves, masks and hand sanitizer. Gloves and masks are form overseas and hand sanitizer is from US.

Per Governor Hutchinson:

“Are we testing enough? Clearly we have done more than sufficient testing. It is more than sufficient to give us a good handle on where we are here in Arkansas. In every county we have had tests done. UAMS now has mobile testing to a few sites across the state that might be hard to reach with normal testing.

Social distancing is so critically important. So impressed with how businesses are taking social distancing seriously.

Individually more people need to take social distancing seriously. Every person needs to engage in social distancing and follow the best practices.”

Additional information:

Dr. Nate Smith referred to for individuals to try and combat health conditions, alcohol, drug and nicotine abuse assistance

Procurement is very difficult because shipping, tracking is being overloaded worldwide.

Not everything is coming from overseas. Hand sanitizer is being made by L’Oreal. They have never made hand sanitizer, but will provide 550 gallons a week free of charge.

Testing: UAMS is overnight, Ark Dpt. Of Health is overnight, private labs have a 3-day delay

One thing we need it’s more cargo capacity. If anyone has the resources that they can divert to help us with transporting personal protective equipment from overseas, into the United States, that’s the number one thing we could use right now.

Dr. Smith- we have a good sample, so we have a good trajectory with close to 10,000 tests with the geography and the slope of that curve. Our trajectory does mirror our hospitalizations.

SBA loans- Governor knows that everyone is anxious. We are all waiting on the Federal Government for the guidance on the loans. Once that happens then the banks are ready to go. We have those bridge loans available through AEDC about a bridge loan $25,000- $250,000.

Unemployment- were we able to get the IT glitch fixed. It helped process tens of thousands of unemployment applications that were stuck in the application process. This has helped decrease the call center volume.

April 3, 2020 1:20 PM

Siloam Springs Mayor John Mark Turner has announced that the April 7 meeting of the Board of Directors will take place in a virtual setting, via Zoom Video Conferencing.

Please visit News Flash for live links and emails.

Using Zoom Video Conferencing, residents will be able to join the meeting online or by phone and will be able to provide comments that will be part on the record. In-lieu of participating in the meeting via Zoom, residents who wish to provide comments as part of the regularly scheduled public input portion of the meeting, or on a particular agenda item, may email comments to the City Clerk, a minimum of 1-hour in advance of the workshop (no later than 4:30 p.m.), to have your comments read into the record. Please provide the agenda item number/letter when emailing. If your comments are meant for general public input, please state that. You may email your comments to or

If a resident wishes to participate in the Board meeting via Zoom, please follow these directions.

Zoom online meeting instructions for the public (attendees):

Time: Tuesday, April 7, 2020 at 5:30 pm workshop and 6:30 pm Board of Directors meeting

Join Zoom meeting via the Zoom video conferencing website or app (pc/Mac; iOS Android):

Via the Internet:

Website: News Flash

If you are joining the meeting via pc/Mac or mobile device, please use your full name as your screen name.

Via Phone:

Dial in with telephone: 1-669-900-9128.

You will be prompted to enter the meeting id#

Meeting id: 754-803-582

When prompted for a participant or attendee number, press #.

The following commands can be entered using your phone's dial pad while in a Zoom meeting:

*6 - toggle mute/unmute

*9 - raise hand

*attendees utilizing the “dial in with telephone” feature will have their telephone number masked. example: 1-479-****-777

All Zoom attendees will need to utilize the “raise their hand” function in the zoom meeting to be recognized when the public is asked if anyone wishes to speak.

The moderator will unmute attendees when the forum is open for public commentary.

All attendees will be muted automatically upon joining the meeting.

The following questions/answers are provided to help everyone understand why the meeting is going to conducted in this manner:

Will the Public Be Allowed to Come to the Board Room for the Meeting?

Per Governor’s orders only 10 or less can congregate. Mayor John Mark Turner has closed the meeting to in-person attendance. Anyone can attend the meeting virtually via Zoom or by calling in if they do not have internet access.

If Attendance Isn’t Allowed, How Can I Have My Comments Heard?

The public can join the meeting via Zoom, or can email their comments to or at least 1-hour before the April 7 workshop meeting of the Board of Directors (no later than 4:30 p.m.) in order to have their comments read into the record. Additionally, attendees using Zoom will have the option to “raise their hand” to be recognized by Mayor Turner. Your call will then be unmuted, and you will have an opportunity to speak to all attendees and participants.

How Can I Watch the Board Meeting?

You can view the meeting live via YouTube or as a participant via Zoom One may also phone in via Zoom to listen to the meeting if they do not have internet access.

Playback will be available on Cox Channel 245 and on the City’s website beginning April 8, 2020.

Are Virtual Meetings Allowed?

While virtual meetings are not specifically mentioned in State statute, city staff is presenting a Resolution to the Board of Directors for approval that will create a precedent for this type of meeting. Additionally, many municipalities have asked the State whether or not council/board members can attend meetings, and vote, virtually? In other words, can council members participate in the meeting by phone or some other electronic means? The Arkansas Attorney General has indicated the most likely answer is ‘yes.’ However, ‘virtual’ participation must ensure the public’s ability to participate in the meeting is maintained. While the law is not crystal clear, we look to guidance from the Attorney General, who cites to a well-respected book on the FOIA. According to the Attorney General, for ‘virtual’ participation by councilmembers to not violate the FOIA, “there must also be some means of safeguarding the public's right to hear or monitor the telephone conversation or the electronic discussion, e.g., by use of speaker phones or by logging on to the computer network. A related question is: Can a city council/board meeting be conducted with the public participating ‘virtually’? Or, in other words, can a council meeting be conducted with the public participating by telephone, video or Facebook Live? The answer to this question is also not crystal clear; however, the Arkansas Municipal League believes the same logic from the AG opinion mentioned above applies to this question, as well. So, while the answer is likely ‘yes,’ public participation must still be maintained. However, considering these difficult times, the Arkansas Municipal League believes that as long as the proper safeguards are in place to ensure all members of the public can hear the council/board and that the council/board can hear the public, the meeting will not violate the FOIA.

April 2, 2020 2:39 PM

Governor Hutchinson Press Conference 4/2/2020


Cases: 643, up 59 from yesterday

Hospitalizations: 66

Total deaths: 12 (8 are 65+, 4 are 19-65)

Recoveries: 47

Sheltering in place:

It’s important to note that our targeted response

Closed schools

Closed restaurants and bars except for take out

Closed lodges at state parks

Closed hair salons, barber shops, massage therapy clinics, nails salons, tattoo shops

Closed gyms, movie theaters, bowling alleys and indoor entertainment centers

Directed state employees to work remotely when possible

Projected vs. Actual:

3500 projected, 643 cases

Strategy of a targeted response is proven to be successful, lowering the apex of the curve.

Stay at home:

State with statewide stay at home orders: LA, TN, MS, KS

Part of the state has a stay at home order: MO, OK, TX

No state has everyone staying at home.

No state is on the downside of this epidemic. The hope with the stay at home order is a decrease in growth. OUR rate of growth has flattened out.

Most of the stay at home orders are not actually stay at home orders- essential activities are exempted. A lot of activities are excluded under many of the orders, which can be confusing that a lot of people are still going to work.

If he entered a stay at home order- would mean over 700,000 Arkansans would still go to work. It would also mean that people could still leave their home to go to grocery stores and hardware stores.

Additionally, a couple hundred thousand would be out of jobs.

There is always the option to go to more stringent in orders

Measuring every day. Trying to make good judgements with good data that make sense in Arkansas. We will do more if we have to. Most people are being extremely responsible with social distancing.

Prison environment: how are we protecting those incarcerated? Screening employees when they come to work. Limited movement in the prison. In person visitation stopped March 16. Parole and probation waived for April. Inmates are making washable masks. No inmates have tested positive, one staff member did test positive, but didn’t have contact with inmates. Two inmates have been tested

Practical moratorium on evictions because courts are closed.

Have received 70% from our national stockpile, what we’ve ordered through regular supply chain means is starting to come in.

April 1, 2020 7:21 PM

A message from City of Siloam Springs Mayor John Mark Turner and City Administrator Phillip Patterson:

The City of Siloam Springs continues to monitor the COVID-19 situation and takes our direction from Governor Hutchinson and the Arkansas Department of Health.

In the interest of the health and safety of the community, the city continues to conduct only essential services along with other work that city employees can while practicing social distancing. We’ve closed park amenities, the library, made public buildings available only by appointment, and cancelled city sponsored events and event permits.

The city wants to remain transparent in communications about COVID-19. We receive information from the Arkansas Department of Health. The ADH does not share city locations of COVID-19, only county locations. The City can only refer to the number of COVID-19 cases in Benton County. According to ADH they cannot share the cities in which cases have occurred or any hospitals to which patients have been admitted because of privacy issues. They are only sharing numbers in counties.

Governor Hutchinson continues to lead the state by issuing various orders and directives including no groups over ten, closing in-dining for restaurants, closing indoor entertainment venues, closing barber shops and hair salons and the practice of social distancing. The City will continue to recommend everyone shelter-in-place to the degree possible. The best way to flatten the curve is to practice social distancing and not go out except for groceries, take-out dinners, for medications, etc. We encourage people to go outside and get fresh air and exercise while practicing the six-foot social distancing rule.

Additionally, Governor Hutchinson has reserved the authority to regulate the closure of businesses to himself through an executive order. Therefore, the city does not have the authority to close businesses. Nor does the city have the authority to tell retailers how to conduct their business. In addition, only the State has the authority to order residents to shelter-in-place. As previously stated, we strongly encourage you to shelter-in-place, but the city doesn’t have the authority to require residents to do.

We encourage you to continue to visit the Arkansas Department of Health website for updates about COVID-19 data and sign up for updates via the City’s website.

April 1, 2020 3:09 PM

Governor Hutchinson spoke about modeling and projections of COVID-19 cases during his /3/31/2020 press conference. There's some good news for Arkansas. "Let’s follow the guidelines from the CDC and Dr. Smith and the Arkansas Health Department and if we’re successful at doing that we’re going to beat what those projections are., and that’s our objective because that saves lives. That get us out of this crisis much quicker, it gets back to normality in a quicker fashion", Governor Hutchinson said.
You can see the discussion at 6:30 in the video or read the transcription below.

On the blue line (line representing the projected numbers) it shows that toward the end of mid-April, April 10, we'll be at 3500 cases here in Arkansas of COVID-19. So I wanted to track where we are on the red line (line representing real numbers) in reality.

So as you can see here, that we have actually lowered that trend line so that we are under it, the blue line where we were projected to be at 500 earlier than that, we are now at 500, but we were projected to be up close to 1000. So this is good news for us when you see, and the public needs to understand, that the red lines means we are having success in our social distancing. We are having success following the guidelines that have been set of limitations on gatherings and if we can continue to do that then the blue line goes up the red line we hope to stay underneath that blue line.

And this is a very conservative estimate as most people know in terms of our ultimate number of cases here in Arkansas. And this projection only goes to mid-April and we will try to extend this as we have more real time information so we can project out further.

But it gives the Arkansan an objective almost: let’s do our part, let’s be self- disciplined, let’s follow the guidelines from the CDC and Dr. Smith and the Arkansas Health Department and if we’re successful at doing that we’re going to beat what those projections are., and that’s our objective because that saves lives. That get us out of this crisis much quicker, it gets back to normality in a quicker fashion. So that is the objective.

April 1, 2020 2:11 PM

Per Governor Hutchinson's Press Conference 4/1/2020:
COVID-19 data today:

584 cases

56 hospitalized

25 on ventilators

10 total deaths

Over 800 tests in the last 24 hours (through Dpt. Of Health lab, commercial, and UAMS)

7124 tests completed to date in the State

Drive-Through Testing Facility for First Responders:

Announcement: partnership with Walmart and Quest Laboratories for a drive through testing facility in Bentonville that will be focusing on first responders and health care workers who show symptoms. If they meet requirements, they will be able to drive through and get testing in a short amount of time. This is a pilot project that will eventually roll out to the rest of the country. Looking to be operational by early next week.

State Parks:

1. Day trip use only of State Parks. No overnight use of facilities- beginning April 3.

2. Restrict parking that will limit access. No overflow parking from parking lots.

3. Some trails will close that are problematic. (posted on the State Parks website, should be live by this afternoon).

4. Park rangers will be able to enforce guidelines to a greater extent. Reduce gathering, educate visitors on social distancing, etc.

5. Buffalo River Scenic Park will be closed until we can determine it was safe. Yesterday, 60% of visitors were from outside of the State.

If this doesn’t help social distancing, then we will adjust as needed.

Unemployment insurance:

The State went from processing over 1,000 a week to 30,000 in a week. Please be patient.

At this time, Arkansas unemployment cannot process pandemic unemployment compensation which applies to self-employed workers and independent contractors. The State is still waiting on guidance from the Department of Labor. Please hold off- staff cannot help until we get guidance from the Department of Labor.

If you’re not doing something important, stay home.
Those who are not being responsible need to be reminded on who they can harm.

March 31, 2020 4:13 PM

Helpful information from the CDC on how to disnfect properly.
There is much to learn about the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Based on what is currently known about the virus and about similar coronaviruses that cause SARS and MERS, spread from person-to-person happens most frequently among close contacts (within about 6 feet). This type of transmission occurs via respiratory droplets, but disease transmission via infectious aerosols is currently uncertain. Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 to persons from surfaces contaminated with the virus has not been documented. Transmission of coronavirus in general occurs much more commonly through respiratory droplets than through fomites. Current evidence suggests that SARS-CoV-2 may remain viable for hours to days on surfaces made from a variety of materials. Cleaning of visibly dirty surfaces followed by disinfection is a best practice measure for prevention of COVID-19 and other viral respiratory illnesses in community settings.

It is unknown how long the air inside a room occupied by someone with confirmed COVID-19 remains potentially infectious. Facilities will need to consider factors such as the size of the room and the ventilation system design (including flowrate [air changes per hour] and location of supply and exhaust vents) when deciding how long to close off rooms or areas used by ill persons before beginning disinfection. Taking measures to improve ventilation in an area or room where someone was ill or suspected to be ill with COVID-19 will help shorten the time it takes respiratory droplets to be removed from the air.

How to Clean and Disinfect

Hard (Non-porous) Surfaces

If surfaces are dirty, they should be cleaned using a detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.

For disinfection, most common EPA-registered household disinfectants should be effective.

A list of products that are EPA-approved for use against the virus that causes COVID-19 is available herepdf iconexternal icon. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for all cleaning and disinfection products for concentration, application method and contact time, etc.

Additionally, diluted household bleach solutions (at least 1000ppm sodium hypochlorite) can be used if appropriate for the surface. Follow manufacturer’s instructions for application, ensuring a contact time of at least 1 minute, and allowing proper ventilation during and after application. Check to ensure the product is not past its expiration date. Never mix household bleach with ammonia or any other cleanser. Unexpired household bleach will be effective against coronaviruses when properly diluted.

Prepare a bleach solution by mixing:

5 tablespoons (1/3 cup) bleach per gallon of water or

4 teaspoons bleach per quart of water

Soft (Porous) Surfaces

For soft (porous) surfaces such as carpeted floor, rugs, and drapes, remove visible contamination if present and clean with appropriate cleaners indicated for use on these surfaces. After cleaning:

If the items can be laundered, launder items in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions using the warmest appropriate water setting for the items and then dry items completely.

Otherwise, use products that are EPA-approved for use against the virus that causes COVID-19pdf iconexternal icon and that are suitable for porous surfaces


For electronics such as tablets, touch screens, keyboards, remote controls, and ATM machines, remove visible contamination if present.

Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for all cleaning and disinfection products.

Consider use of wipeable covers for electronics.

If no manufacturer guidance is available, consider the use of alcohol-based wipes or sprays containing at least 70% alcohol to disinfect touch screens. Dry surfaces thoroughly to avoid pooling of liquids.

Linens, Clothing, and Other Items That Go in the Laundry

In order to minimize the possibility of dispersing virus through the air, do not shake dirty laundry.

Wash items as appropriate in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. If possible, launder items using the warmest appropriate water setting for the items and dry items completely. Dirty laundry that has been in contact with an ill person can be washed with other people’s items.

Clean and disinfect hampers or other carts for transporting laundry according to guidance above for hard or soft surfaces.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and Hand Hygiene:

The risk of exposure to cleaning staff is inherently low. Cleaning staff should wear disposable gloves and gowns for all tasks in the cleaning process, including handling trash.

Gloves and gowns should be compatible with the disinfectant products being used.

Additional PPE might be required based on the cleaning/disinfectant products being used and whether there is a risk of splash.

Gloves and gowns should be removed carefully to avoid contamination of the wearer and the surrounding area. Be sure to clean hands after removing gloves.

If gowns are not available, coveralls, aprons or work uniforms can be worn during cleaning and disinfecting. Reuseable (washable) clothing should be laundered afterwards. Clean hands after handling dirty laundry.

Gloves should be removed after cleaning a room or area occupied by ill persons. Clean handsimmediately after gloves are removed.

Cleaning staff should immediately report breaches in PPE such as a tear in gloves or any other potential exposures to their supervisor.

Cleaning staff and others should clean hands often, including immediately after removing gloves and after contact with an ill person, by washing hands with soap and water for 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available and hands are not visibly dirty, an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol may be used. However, if hands are visibly dirty, always wash hands with soap and water.

Follow normal preventive actions while at work and home, including cleaning hands and avoiding touching eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.

Additional key times to clean hands include:

After blowing one’s nose, coughing, or sneezing

After using the restroom

Before eating or preparing food

After contact with animals or pets

Before and after providing routine care for another person who needs assistance such as a child

March 27, 2020 9:28 AM

Per Governor Hutchinson's Executive Order:
"All public and private gatherings of any number of people occurring outside a single household or living unit are subject to the following directives and exceptions:

Due to the high risk of community spread of COVID-19, gatherings of more than ten (10) people in any confined indoor or outdoor space are prohibited until further notice. Gatherings subject to this directive include, without limitation, community, civic, public, leisure, commercial, or sporting events, concerts, conferences, conventions, fundraisers, parades, fairs, and festivals."
March 26, 2020 3:17 PM

Gov Hutchinson Press Conference 3/26/2020, 2:30 p.m.

Special Session of the Legislature, Senate meeting

335 cases 3/26/2020 2:30 pm
41 hospitalized of those 335 cases

Directive, specifics are available by public health directive this afternoon. Details to follow.

Dr. Nate Smith- Director and State Health, Officer for the Arkansas Department of Health:

60% female cases in Arkansas
41 hospitalized, up from 12 yesterday (partly because of the collection method and real time assessments) hospitals are now reporting to Ark. Dpt. Of Health
13 currently on ventilators, up from 4 yesterday (partly because of collection method as well)
3 deaths, all in central Arkansas
13 recovered- will be asking those to be willing to donate plasma so we can treat those who are critically ill

Announcing initiative- only during this public health emergency
Environmental modifications (drive through test sites, building modifications)
Financial support for workforce safety and training for providers who have to do face to face
Expansion on telemedicine and transpiration to non-critical care
Additional payments to support nurses, $1000 a month for nonphysician direct care workers (250/wk), additional $2000(500/wk) to nurses in facilities treating COVID19
Homelessness initiatives- city will do an agreement to use funds to draw down federal money so there aren’t people in congregate housing.
Foster care initiative, additional payment of $500

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

National shortage of PPE, we have made a number of very large purchases that will be made available to healthcare
3 million n95 masks
4 million surgical masks
3 million disposable gowns
7 million gloves

Scheduled to be here this weekend. Dpt. Of Health will determine how these are allocated.

March 25, 2020 11:16 AM

Effective Wednesday, March 25, 2020 at 3:00 p.m. the City of Siloam Springs will close park amenities. This includes all playground equipment, basketball courts, tennis courts, skateboard facilities, soccer fields, baseball/softball fields, batting cages, the JBU outdoor gym, the futsal court, Tails and Trails Dog Park, bird blind at City Lake, and ALL park bathrooms.

City park amenities are closed until further notice. Groups not practicing social distancing on city property are prohibited. Groups of more than ten are prohibited.

The Dogwood Springs Trail will remain open; City Lake trail will remain open; park lands will remain open. Gazebos will remain open under social distancing guidelines.

When using trails and park lands, please follow the National Recreation and Park Association’s recommendations on social distancing minimums.

There are a number of specific recommendations for advising the public to keep safe social distancing when in parks or on trails

Follow CDC’s guidance on personal hygiene prior to heading to trails — wash hands, carry hand sanitizer, do not use trails if you have symptoms, cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing, etc.

Observe at all times CDC’s minimum recommended social distancing of six feet from other people. Practice it and know what it looks like. Keep it as you walk, bike or hike.

Warn other trail users of your presence and as you pass to allow proper distance and step off trails to allow others to pass, keeping minimum recommended distances at all times. Signal your presence with your voice, bell or horn.

Note that trail and park users may find public restrooms closed — be prepared before you leave and time outings so that you are not dependent on public restrooms.

Bring water or drinks — public drinking fountains may be disabled and should not be used, even if operable.

Bring a suitable trash bag. Leave no trash, take everything out to protect park workers

March 23, 2020 4:53 PM

Dr. Nate Smith, Director and State Health Officer for the Arkansas Department of Health has issued a directive that barber shops, beauty shops, salons, nail salons, massage parlors, massage therapists, and tattoo parlors are ordered to close beginning Tuesday, March 24.

March 23, 2020 3:24 PM

City crews are experiencing an increase in clogged lines due to "flushable" wipes. Clogged lines from wipes and additional rubbish could cause sewer lines to back up in your house.
While wipes are marketed as flushabe, these are still not safe for the municipal waste water lines. The only safe thing to flush is toilet paper and human waste.

COVID-19 is causing other problems associated to cleaning. Now that people are using more wipes for cleaning around the house, work, hands, babies and other things the City has seen a major increase in disposable and flushable wipes being disposed via the toilet. 90% of wipes say they are flushable they are not intended to be disposed in the municipal sewer system. They clog lines and damage lift station pumps. These pumps are used to transport wastewater to the municipal wastewater facility to clean the contaminated water. Clogged lines causes collection system to not work properly and back up.
City crews have had pumps damaged from disposables and flushable wipes along with paper towels in collection system. Please do not flush anything other than toilet paper down the toilet.

March 23, 2020 1:08 PM

Effective Monday, March 23, all city offices will be restricted to essential personnel only. Many staff members are working from home; if you have business that can be conducted via email, phone, or the website, we encourage you to do so.

City of Siloam Springs Police Department and Fire Department will continue to be operational from an emergency response standpoint, but will send as many office/records staff home as possible.

Sanitation, Utility Billing, Water Treatment and Wastewater Treatment Plants, Meter Reading, Finance, and Administration will continue with skeleton crews.

Spring Clean Up is cancelled. Curbside recycling is suspended until further notice. You may drop off recycling at the containers located at 1108 E. Ashley. Brush pickup will continue.

The Transfer Station/Sanitation Division building is closed to the public. Please take any excess trash to Waste Management. As an alternate, trash may be taken to the Waste Management landfill located at 2210 WM Dr, Springdale, AR 72762. Waste Management only accepts credit/debit cards.

Water services- call 479-238-0921 for emergency water leaks during business hours. Call 479-524-4118 for emergency leaks after hours.

Parks and Recreation will close doors and only operate Oak Hill cemetery as needed.